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Sex Trafficking Help: What Does Grooming Look Like?

By | Education, News | No Comments

A recent study on sex trafficking in Hawaii showed that three in four sex trafficking victims are trafficked by someone they know.  A friend, boyfriend, and even family members can be traffickers by using tactics to take control over their victims.  Grooming is one of those tactics, used by traffickers every day to intentionally manipulate someone to the point they become victimized.

What is Grooming?

Described by the American Bar Association as a preparatory process in which a perpetrator gradually gains a person’s trust with the intent to be sexually abusive, the red flags of grooming are: 

  • Targeting the victim
  • Securing access to and isolating the victim 
  • Gaining the victim’s trust 
  • Controlling and concealing the relationship 

Take Jeffrey Epstein: often Epstein used his “girlfriend,” an accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell to befriend young girls. Maxwell was used to make the girls feel at ease, taking an interest in them, talking to them about the possibility of a modeling career, or how Epstein was caring, like a “father figure”. He would shower them with attention and gifts. Then, once he earned their trust, would start to abuse them, tying in sex and money to shame them into silence.  

Similarly, family members, friends, coaches, clergy, and other trusted adults, use similar tactics to target and isolate their victim. 

We know grooming is often used as a tool to control the child and to misdirect outsider’s concerns regarding an inappropriate relationship with the child. In cases of child sexual abuse, perpetrators are able to groom and manipulate the child into thinking the behavior is normal or an acceptable form of affection. This often prevents the child from speaking up about their abuse and increases the likelihood the child will repeatedly return to their offender. 

All too often, this happens within a family. A mother’s new boyfriend might befriend her teenage daughter. Eventually, after trust has been gained, and they are alone, he tells her he finds her beautiful. The abuse is normalized as an act of love or affection. He convinces her their relationship is like that of star-crossed lovers, a secret only they can know.  

Often, guardians and children can be simultaneously groomed, so the perpetrator is able to use the guardian’s trust to gain unsupervised access to the child. This abuse of trust can wreak havoc on families and parents who feel like they were a part of the victimization.  

Every year, nearly 700,000 children are abused in the United States. Of those 700,000, nearly 50,000 are victims of child sexual abuse. For many, child sexual abuse is too painful to comprehend. However, it’s important to educate ourselves on this violent crime of child sexual abuse, and understand how perpetrators are able to use grooming techniques to isolate and harm our children. 

Sex Trafficking Prevention education

Prevention education is one of the most effective ways to stop grooming and prevent child sexual abuse. We need to educate children about healthy adult/child relationships, and how to be safe online, and who they can talk to if they are feeling unsafe. It is essential to create an open and safe environment for children to express their fears and concerns as part of protecting them from perpetrators. 

It is also important for parents, guardians, and other adults to understand what grooming behaviors are and how to identify them. Adults should become familiar with the ‘red flags’ and behaviors of perpetrators, so they can intervene when inappropriate behavior is present. 

One of the most important ways to keep the children in our lives safe, is by taking time to have fun together, to listen, and to always remind them they are loved.

To learn more, sign-up for a webinar here.

Need Help?

Children who’ve endured physical and emotional abuse are 3 times more likely to be sex trafficked. This is why Ho’ola Na Pua partners with Child & Family Service and Catholic Charities Hawaii to provide a preventative program called Hope & Healing. This program offers a free ‘ohana style counseling to all children and families who are survivors of sexual abuse. The program screens and assesses the risk of sex trafficking while also providing treatment as needed. 

To make a referral, contact Child & Family Services at 808-681-1546. Applications can be faxed to 808-748-3135. Once an application is received, the referral source will receive a confirmation within 24 hours of receipt.

If someone you know may have been a victim of sexual abuse or exploitation, please call the Hawaii Department of Human Services Child Abuse Reporting line at 808-832-5300 or toll free at 1-888-380-3088. 

Stop It Now  

State of Hawaii Department of Human Services 

You can help survivors of sex trafficking

Be part of the solution! It’s with the dedication of our supporters that we are able to prevent sex trafficking and provide care for children who have been exploited. 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.


Give to Hoʻōla Nā Pua

Donations to Ho`ōla Nā Pua support prevention, intervention, empowerment, and healing for our youth. Our Federal ID number (EIN) is 46-5139164. Your gift may be 100% deductible from your taxable income.

sex trafficking warning signs or red flags in Hawaii

Sex Trafficking Happens in Hawaii

By | Education, News | No Comments

To understand this tragedy called sex trafficking, and to help vulnerable youth, it’s important that we all understand how trafficking comes to be and how it works.

How sex trafficking come to be and how it works

These youth are often young girls and boys who have run away from abusive or painful situations at home and are quickly picked up by traffickers. These traffickers don’t fit a simple stereotype, they can be male or female, boyfriend or uncle, sister, or aunt. The victims as well as the traffickers also represent every social, ethnic, and racial group.

Traffickers use emotional, financial, or addictive substances to entice and control. The emotional bond is one of the strongest with the young girls – they are promised love, marriage, or a lifestyle they don’t currently have. Others are promised basic needs such as food, shelter, or clothing, and many are approached at malls, movie theaters, or schools.

How do you know if someone is being trafficked?

It’s important to understand the signs of sex trafficking. Homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, run-aways, substance abuse, and mental or physical disabilities are all circumstances that attract traffickers. Pre-teen or adolescent girls are most susceptible to these forms of manipulation. This is why traffickers target locations where youth spend their free time, such as schools, malls, parks, bus stops, shelters and group homes.

What to look for in targeted youths:

  • Under 18 years old
  • Feels insecure, low self-esteem
  • Feels misunderstood
  • Fights with their parents
  • Feels parents don’t care
  • Desire for love and acceptance
  • Desire for independence
  • Tests boundaries and takes risks
  • Access to a computer/smartphone
  • Attracted to consumer goods
  • Walks to school or to the store alone
  • Past trauma
  • Poor attachment
  • Lack of a support system
  • History of violence or physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect
  • Mental health or substance abuse issues
  • Involvement in the Juvenile Justice System
  • Large family (lack of attention)
  • Absent father (physically or emotionally)
  • Family dysfunction, breakdown, poverty
  • Family, community, or societal sexualization
  • Prostitution in the neighborhood
  • Love for a pimp
  • Missing child

Sex Trafficking Red Flags:

  • Hypersexual
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • No identification
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts
  • Inconsistent stories
  • Does not make eye contact with males
  • Submissive, fearful, or uncooperative
  • Discrepancies in reported age
  • Evidence of controlling or dominant relationship; or significantly older intimate partner
  • Unhealthy attachment to or secrecy around computer, phone, or gaming

If you or someone you know needs help, call the HNP Helpline at 808-435-9555.

 

Make a gift to support essential services

DONATE TO ESSENTIAL SERVICES

 

You can help survivors of sex trafficking

Be part of the solution! It’s with the dedication of our supporters that we are able to prevent sex trafficking and provide care for children who have been exploited. 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.


Donations for sex trafficking

Donations to Ho`ōla Nā Pua support prevention, intervention, empowerment, and healing for our youth. Our Federal ID number (EIN) is 46-5139164. Your gift may be 100% deductible from your taxable income.

keep-children-safe-online-sex-trafficking-hawaii

While you are safe and healthy at home, stay safe and healthy online

By | About HNP, Education, News | No Comments

As we all quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are spending more time online.  As we see websites and apps increase their visibility and access through free trials, the ability for our children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren to reach (and be reached) by anyone in the world has also increased.  The FBI recently issued a warning to parents, educators, and caregivers to be vigilant in practicing internet safety to protect youth from online sexual exploitation.

In Hawaii, 1 in 3 who are sex trafficked were recruited online.  There are several precautions that can be taken to stay safe.


ENCOURAGE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Communicate about what is important to you and encourage your family to share what is important to them.  Identify shared values that you can commit to together.
  2. Create a strong sense of trust through demonstrating honesty and creating a safe space for your family members to be honest.  This will help your children feel comfortable coming to you if they need help.
  3. Spend quality time together.

CREATE A SAFE SPACE ONLINE AND OFF

  1. Set parental controls on devices in your home.  Go to Bark-o-matic for tutorials on devices, apps, and games.
  2. Create an agreement with your children and make a commitment together on what type of behavior is safe.  
  3. Add a monitoring service.  HNP  is proud to be a Bark Affiliate. Bark is dedicated to helping keep kids safe online and in real life with their groundbreaking products for families.  Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives. Their award-winning service monitors 30+ of the most popular apps and social media platforms for signs of issues like cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, online predators, threats of violence, and more. Plus, Bark offers web filtering and screen time management tools that empower families to set healthy limits around the websites and apps their kids can access and when they can visit them.  Use this link to try it free for 7 days or visit Bark.us to learn more.

This is an opportunity for us to recognize that our community can work together to take care of one another.  We can look for healthy ways to connect with the people we care about and spend quality time with them so that they are less vulnerable to predators and more likely to be safe and experience a promising future. 

 

You can help survivors of sex trafficking

Be part of the solution! It’s with the dedication of our supporters that we are able to prevent sex trafficking and provide care for children who have been exploited. 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.


Donations for sex trafficking

Donations to Ho`ōla Nā Pua support prevention, intervention, empowerment, and healing for our youth. Our Federal ID number (EIN) is 46-5139164. Your gift may be 100% deductible from your taxable income.

sex trafficking impact report

Our Impact in 2018

By | About HNP, Education, News, Pearl Haven | No Comments
As we look back on last year, we see a collection of moments through brightly colored drawings, children at their school desks, and shovels in dirt. These are moments in time when individuals in our community connected with Ho`ōla Nā Pua. Each year we grow to meet the needs of our community.  Last year we were able to reach more youth in juvenile facilities, students in new school districts, and we broke ground on Pearl Haven, our future residential campus for survivors.

By the Numbers: 2018 Impact

Sex Trafficking Support Programs

In 2018, we reached over 26,000 people with our mission and connected with community stakeholders who are joining in to be part of the solution.  The problem of sex trafficking requires us to surround our keiki with support. This has meant an expansion of our programs in order to reach more keiki and the adults in their lives.

Sex Exploitation and Trafficking Education

We seek to prevent sex trafficking and travel to schools island-wide to provide education to students on this issue.  We found that 3 out of 4 of students received an education on sex trafficking for the first time through our presentations.  Also, almost every student walks forward into their lives with the confidence that they can recognize the warning signs of a trafficking situation.  We also provide training to professionals and first responders on identification and response to exploitation so that children can then receive the attention and care they need.

Sex Trafficking Mentoring Program

Mentorships are a core focus for us as we know that it plays a significant role in recovery from psychological trauma.  OurStarfish Mentoring Program connects a child who has been exploited (or is at high risk of being exploited) to a vetted, extensively trained caring adult to help guide them toward healing, restoration, and successful social reintegration.  In addition, we provide group mentoring activities in juvenile facilities to equip youth with empowerment tools that will serve as protective factors when they are discharged. In these settings, youth are encouraged to participate in art activities, lie giving a ‘weather report’ on their mood at the beginning and end of the group session.

Sex Trafficking Awareness

We are often invited to speak at community presentations, including conferences and workshops.  Last year alone, we presented at 42 unique venues to raise awareness on the issue of sex trafficking and exploitation. We often meet parents and community members who want to learn more about how to take action on this important issue.
Do you want to learn more about Ho`ola Na Pua and have us present at your place or work or at an event?  Please contact us at events@hoolanapua.org.

Sex Trafficking Residential Care Campus

In 2018 we broke ground on the Pearl Haven Campus.  This will be the future residence of up to 32 girls who have been sexually exploited.  They will receive a comprehensive program for healing, including the possibility of therapy, mental and physical health care, and educational needs.  We are currently under construction and have raised 60% of the capital needed to open the doors to Pearl Haven.
Thank you to our supporters who have made this work possible.  To get involved as a volunteer, advocate, or contributor, please visit hoolanapua.org.

MAHALO TO OUR SUPPORTERS AND SUSTAINING DONORS 2018

The work to help the Keiki of Hawaii and beyond would not be possible without our donors.

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.

pearl-haven-sex-trafficking-donation-hawaii

Program Updates! Help Trafficked Kids through Health, Education, Advocacy, and Reintegration

By | About HNP, Education, News, Pearl Haven | No Comments

Looking Back – and Ahead Sex Trafficking Education and Advocacy

2018 was a year of great expansion for Hoʻōla Nā Pua. Two of our programs, the Education Program and Starfish Mentoring Program (SMP), experienced phenomenal growth and reached more keiki than ever before. Our Education Advocates reached over 3,900 middle and high school students through sex trafficking prevention education – nearly doubling our 2018 goal of 2,000!   Trafficking prevention education was provided to students on three islands (Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, Maui) in five school districts (Central, Honolulu, Leeward, Hawaiʻi, Maui).

  • SMP’s Hoku group mentoring expanded from three juvenile facilities to five: Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility, Hale Hoʻomalu Juvenile Detention Facility, Hale Kipa Girls Emergency Shelter, Hale Lanipōlua Trafficked Victim Assessment Center, and Noho Olu Girls’ Safe House.   2019 is bringing even more significant opportunities in continuing to build the continuum of care needed for children in Hawaiʻi.   This year we are focusing on our programmatic impact and measurement along with continuous expansion and sustainability by:
    • Reducing trafficking vulnerability and demand through creative education, advocacy, and partnerships.
    • Driving a cultural shift in reducing stigma around the issue of trafficking and being a thought leader in the anti-trafficking space
    • Expanding the much needed Hoku group mentoring service into more adolescent facilities both on Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island.
    • Increasing the number of trained volunteers for in the Starfish Mentoring program as well as our Educational Advocacy program to deliver in-school prevention education.
    • Developing an advocacy agenda and engaging our volunteers and supporters to be a part of the needed legislative changes.
    • Cultivating more partnerships and collaborative opportunities- because together our impact is greater!

Sex Trafficking Program Updates

Hoʻōla Nā Pua has partnered with Child & Family Service and Catholic Charities Hawaiʻi to offer free services to children and families who are survivors of sexual abuse. The Hope and HealingProgram provides an ʻohana style approach, offering wraparound services of counseling and support to child survivors and their families.The program also screens and assesses the risk of sex trafficking and provides concurrent treatment planning as needed. HNP provides trafficking prevention and identification training, mentoring services, and Hoku group activities. Other services include assessment, family support, and individual, group, and family counseling.   There are new faces at HNP headquarters! Kim Allen, LSW, has joined us as our new Direct Services Program Manager for the Starfish Mentoring Program. Kim comes to HNP with over a decade of experience with program management at the State Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division. Tim Hitchens, MSW, is our new Education Program Manager. Tim is an experienced social worker from Philadelphia where he was a policy and program supervisor at the Department of Health and oversaw the Child Welfare hotline. If you see them around our offices, say hello!

Pearl Haven Residential Treatment Updates

Pearl Haven is in renovation phase 3 of 6, and we are close to 50% of the project cost raised. We are so thankful for the MacNaughton Foundation and John Dean, among others, who in the fourth quarter of 2018 made significant contributions to keep construction moving forward at Pearl Haven.   We are at a critical step in project development, and are working on securing an operation partner for the services Pearl Haven will provide. We believe in quality programming to ensure a strong and sustainable program. The community and national support for a place like Pearl Haven continues to increase, and recognition of the level of trauma interventions are becoming apparent. Once completed, Pearl Haven will be the safe space for the girls we serve! Learn more about Pearl Haven construction updates.

Please consider donating to help continue to make Pearl Haven 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.

Sex Trafficking in Hawaiʻi: The Stories of Survivors

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Sex Trafficking in Hawaiʻi: The Stories of Survivors 

Sex Trafficking in Hawaiʻi: The Stories of Survivors

“I didn’t ever feel like a victim. I never felt victimized until I started listening to other things that people were saying. And then questioning, what is victimization? That is someone like me. Someone took advantage of me. Someone coerced me. That is somebody like me. And it is so obvious I am a victim. It was because when I was 15 and I thought I had it together and I knew what I wanted and I knew what I was doing and I was down for my man.”

“When we called law enforcement to report her missing, they told me “if she wants to be out by herself, then let her.”

“You just don’t get out of this. That doesn’t happen. I would get my ass beat.”

-From the participants in this study.

This report is dedicated to the twenty-two brave people who told their stories of pain and survival.

Read the full Sex Trafficking in Hawaiʻi report HERE

Sex trafficking has been found in every state in the United States including Hawaiʻi and in most countries around the world. The global and national dimensions of sex trafficking have functioned to obscure the unique and intertwined commodification of bodies and land in Hawaiʻi. …sex trafficking remains a hidden and silent phenomenon or portrayed as an issue affecting only foreign-born women. Sex trafficking, which is the forced prostitution of an adult or the sexual exploitation through prostitution of a child, is present in Hawaiʻi but the scope of the problem is unclear. This study examines in depth the experiences of victims of sex trafficking in Hawaiʻi.

Funding for this study was provided by the Kaimas foundation.

The study was conducted by:

Arizona State University Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention’s Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, MSW, Ph.D. and the Hawaiʻi State Commission on the Status of Women’s Khara Jabola-Carolus, J.D.

Please consider donating to help continue to make Pearl Haven 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.