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Education

Hōkū: Sex Trafficking Education, Prevention and Resiliency

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Hōkū: Sex Trafficking Education, Prevention and Resiliency

By Kaitlin Hazama, Volunteeer

Aloha, my name is Kaitlin Hazama and I am a social work practicum student from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. I have been a practicum student at Hoʻōla Nā Pua for nearly two semesters, and I will also be closing out my senior year here next Spring. During my time here, it has been interesting to see the dynamics of a non-profit organization and I have enjoyed learning about the various programs of Hoʻōla Nā Pua. At first, I was reluctant because human sex trafficking can be a heavy topic but in the end, I am glad that I chose to continue my practicum experience at Hoʻōla Nā Pua. I am fortunate to have been given the unique opportunity to be a part of the excellent work that is being done by Hoʻōla Nā Pua with survivors and those who are at risk of human sex trafficking in Hawaiʻi

Mentoring Sex Trafficking Victims

I am involved with Hōkū, a program within Starfish Mentoring Program. Hōkū means star in native Hawaiian. We go into juvenile facilities on a weekly basis and do various arts & crafts and food activities with the girls. Through these activities, we aim to empower the participants to build protective factors, emotional intelligence, and resiliency skills and that while participating in these activities, they are able to explore their talents and creativity. We hope that through this consistent weekly contact we can be safe, supportive adults in their lives and that they will leave the facilities with knowledge or skills they did not previously have. I am always eager to attend Hōkū because each day is completely different. I enjoy getting to watch the girls put their own creative twists on activities and it has been great getting to see with my own eyes how extremely talented each and every one of them are.

Rehabilitation and Establishing Trust

Over the course of time that I have been going into the facilities and doing activities with the girls, I have noticed gradual success. At first, I could tell that some of the girls were hesitant to open up about themselves with me because I was a newcomer. According to other facilitators at Hoʻōla Nā Pua, this is a very common issue because a lot of times these girls have had negative experiences with adults and it is difficult to establish trust. After going into the facility multiple times and being a familiar face, I was able to establish a connection with some of them and I noticed they were more willing to open up to the group. It may seem like a small step, but relationship and rapport building takes time and every step forward counts.

Currently, Hōkū is being held at two sites on Oahu and one site on the Big Island and we are currently in the process of expanding the Hōkū program to various facilities throughout Oahu. The Hōkū curriculum is also currently undergoing exciting changes and we hired a program coordinator to further develop the curriculum and a manual to hopefully aid in the expansion of the program across the island. Activities that are being developed will be centered around teaching the girls that they are valuable, that they have the power of choice, that they are strong and that they have purpose.

Small Group Activities

An example of an activity that teaches the girls that they are valuable, includes nail and hand care. In this activity, girls can make a scrub for their hands, and paint their fingernails and design their own nails according to their own taste. Hands are the human bodies most valuable tool and our skin is our bodies largest organ. Our skin serves as a protective barrier from our insides and the rest of the world. By taking care of our skin, it exemplifies that we care about ourselves and our health. A simple activity like hand scrubs and nail painting can make someone feel special and valued.

Making a Difference

“Each participant is seen as a star, and Hōkū programming is designed to fire each participant up so they shine brightly and maintain their twinkle despite life’s challenges” Hōkū program manual

When asked what she wanted to prove wrong , she said “ I want to prove to my family that I’m not like my brothers and sisters who keep messing up; I’m not like that; I’m better!”

Often when youth leave juvenile justice facilities, they are only given a black trash bag with which to take their personal belongings home. Decorating canvas bags at Hōkū so they have a real bag in which to take things home is an example of a simple craft activity that can be used to instill a sense of value and worth in participants.

 


Starfish Mentoring Program (SMP)

The vision of Ho‘ōla Nā Pua’s Starfish Mentoring Program (SMP) is that no survivor of sex trafficking is ever left without the support of a caring adult to help guide them toward healing, renewal and successful social reintegration. SMP offers a variety of services: one-to-one mentoring, Hōkū (group activities in facilities), a family support group, and specialized agency training.  

Hōkū Group Activities

HOKU GROUP ACTIVITIES SMP holds weekly group activities (HOKU) in facilities for girls identified as high risk or victims of CSEC. This service is currently offered at Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility (Kailua), Hale Ho‘omalu (Kapolei), and Noho Olu Safehome (Hawai‘i Island). By definition, girls in the juvenile justice system and in the care of social services are at higher risk of CSEC victimization and many have been identified as victims. SMP offers services at these facilities in alignment with the one-to-one mentoring service with the purpose of preventing further victimization and establishing protective factors via activities that build life skills and encourage self-empowerment. CONNECTION AND CONSISTENCY are two major factors that aid healing in trauma survivors. For youth who have been traumatized, there is a general distrust of all adults which makes establishing new connections difficult. In the majority of cases, youth in facilities have experienced early childhood trauma. Research shows that childhood trauma often manifests in reactive behaviors, which may escalate into “criminal” activity. HNP serves girls in facilities because we aim to be a part of a solution that disrupts the cycle of abuse/trauma leading to reactive/criminal behaviors that inevitably sends the youth back into the juvenile justice system. A productive disruption of this cycle can happen through trauma-informed care. While lessons and activities are planned for Hōkū sessions, the underlying goals of the weekly meetings are just as important.

Please consider donating to help continue to make this dream a reality.

Be part of the solution! It’s with the dedication of our supporters that we are able to advance education, awareness, and action to provide restoration for children rescued from sexual exploitation. Whether you want to volunteer your time, voice, or resources, we’ve made it easy find a way to get involved with Hoʻōla Nā Pua.


You can help survivors of sex traffickingDonations for sex trafficking to Hoʻōla Nā Pua support Health, Education, Advocacy and Reintegration, which includes our Starfish mentorship program and sustains ongoing operating and Pearl Haven site development costs. Our Federal ID number (EIN) is 46-5139164. Your gift may be 100% deductible from your taxable income.

Hoʻōla Nā Pua Sex Trafficking Prevention Education Milestones and Reach

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Sex Trafficking Education

We conduct multi-sector, community, active engagement, educational training to increase awareness of sex trafficking. Our objective is to provide safeguards for vulnerable persons and foster an interactive, multi-disciplinary, anti-trafficking community through outreach to neighborhoods, prevention program in schools, first-responders, service providers, lawmakers, faith based communities, and the population at large.

Age is the primary factor of vulnerability being used against the victims and the signs of being targeted are not immediately recognizable to an unsuspecting teen. Through education, we can teach our children to recognize the signs before they are caught up in a very dangerous cycle that is difficult to escape.

Education and Awareness are Key in the Prevention of Child Sex Trafficking

HNP conducts multi-sector, community, active engagement, educational training to increase awareness of sex trafficking. Our objective is to provide safeguards for vulnerable persons and foster an interactive, multi-disciplinary, anti-trafficking community through outreach to neighborhoods, prevention program in schools, first-responders, service providers, lawmakers, faith based communities, and the population at large.
Children and adolescents in today’s world face many challenges including the oversexualization of girls and overdependence on the internet and social media. These are factors that contribute to increased vulnerability of a youth being targeted, groomed, and victimized for commercial sexual exploitation. Prevention education can reduce risk factors by raising awareness of warning signs, red flags, and tactics used by traffickers to lure unsuspecting youth.

Individuals Reached Through Awareness Events and Education

The issue of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) must be addressed from a community perspective. HNP conducts presentations, sponsors events and participates in community events in collaboration with partners. Through these events, trainings, and community presentations, HNP reaches an average of 2500+ kids annually. HNP community awareness and advocacy messages reach thousands.

Formalizing the Prevention Education Program.

In 2017, HNP took its education program to a new level through the design and implementation of the Prevention Education Presentation v1.0. This presentation was designed for students and is adaptable to use for age ranges from middle school to college. Version 1.0 covers the following topics:
  • What is CSEC
  • Vulnerabilities, Risk Factors, and Warning Signs (Red Flags)
  • Protecting Yourself on Social Media
  • The link from Pornography to Sex Trafficking
  • Why it Happens in Hawai`i
  • Resources and How to Get Help

Recruiting a Teen Review Board

Popular (teen) opinion matters! It was important for HNP to hear the voices of pre-teens and teens throughout the process of building v1.0. Through the critique of a diverse teen review board (and some parents), HNP was able to design a presentation that delivered the message in a meaningful and age-appropriate way. In fact, the idea for the Student Resource Card came from the review board and is now given out to all students at all presentations.  In 2016, 2057 middle school to college aged students in 10 schools and in 2017, 1888 middle school to college aged students in ~19 schools or venues were reached.
donate to stop girls sex trafficking
First Student Review Board May 2017

 

donate to girls sex trafficking education
Middle School Prevention Education Program Presentation Dec 2017

Volunteer Education Advocates Training

Well trained and vetted volunteers are key to the sustainability of the education program. 28 dedicated volunteers on Oahu and Hawai`i Island have completed HNP’s training to become Education Advocates. These volunteers with a passion for education and the issue of CSEC undergo a vetting process and receive 18 hours of initial training followed by quarterly workshops.
Volunteer Education Advocates O`ahu June 2017

 

Community  Awareness Events

HNP has been raising awareness and increasing community involvement around the issue of underage sex trafficking through community awareness events, e.g., Human Trafficking Awareness Walk & Fair; Good Deeds Day; Make A Difference Day; educational presentations to youth, young adults and the community at large; Volunteer Orientation & Advocate Trainings (VOAT), Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Trainings, Train the Trainer as well as many community outreach events.
Human Trafficking Awareness Walk & Fair Jan 2017

Interns at HNP

Interns have made significant contributions to the work at HNP since 2016.HNP is grateful for all the wonderful students that have been a part of the HNP family from the following schools:
  • UH West O`ahu
  • Corban University
  • Biola University
  • Kamehameha Schools Kapili `Oihana Internship Program
  • Chapman University
  • University of North Georgia
  • UH Manoa
  • Kamehameha Schools Kapalama
These students were  from UH West O`ahu, Corban University as well as Biola University. In 2017 HNP partnered for the first time with Kamehameha Schools Kapili `Oihana Internship Program becoming a site host for student interns.

Teacher Feedback:

The Education Presentation on Sex Trafficking of Minors was highly effective at Dole Middle School.  The presentations allowed for a safe avenue for dialogue to take place on this subject. We were able to identify and red flag several students per grade level for increased monitoring in regards to this subject.  We were also able to use this as a jumping off point for discussions amongst staff and students on this subject. We hope that we continue to have a partnership with Ho’ola Na Pua to better service our community.
–Kara Nakashima
Dole Intermediate School
Department Chair Social Studies 

Volunteer Feedback:

As retired San Jose Police Lt assigned to Domestic Violence-Child Abuse-Threat Management Bureau of the Family Violence Unit, I was responsible in part for the community-educational outreach in collaboration with community based partners addressing these issues. This also included child exploitation. From my professional experience, I know that community education is a key component not only in educating the public, but possibly allowing victims to self-identify with what is happening in their or others’ lives as a criminal situation and then to reach out for help.
As an Educational Advocate for Ho’ola Na Pua, I have personally seen the positive impact our educational outreach has had in the schools. The response to our presentations has been overwhelmingly positive, with requests for additional presentations. The potential for community outreach and the expansion of the mission of Hoʻōla Nā Pua is limited only by the financial resources available to them.
– Ernie Kong, Volunteer Education Advocate

Be part of the solution! It’s with the dedication of our supporters that we are able to advance education, awareness, and action to provide restoration for children rescued from sexual exploitation. Whether you want to volunteer your time, voice, or resources, we’ve made it easy find a way to get involved with Hoʻōla Nā Pua.


You can help victims of sex trafficking. Donations to Hoʻōla Nā Pua support Health, Education, Advocacy and Reintegration, which includes our Starfish mentorship program and sustains ongoing operating and Pearl Haven site development costs. Our Federal ID number (EIN) is 46-5139164. Your gift may be 100% deductible from your taxable income.

“The Abolitionists” Film Showing

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Ho'ola Na Pua members pose with "The Abolitionists" Producer Chet Thomas.

Ho’ola Na Pua members pose with “The Abolitionists” Producer Chet Thomas.

On May 9, Producer Chet Thomas brought The Abolitionists to the Hawaii State Capitol for a special showing. The event was geared toward Hawaii’s legislators, but other members and organizations from the community were also welcome to join for the special showing. Ho’ola Na Pua was among those present.

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