There are over 4 million people sex trafficked each year and over 1 million are children. This is a $100 billion criminal enterprise worldwide.
Underneath the idyllic image of sand and surf in Hawai‘i is something dark: a criminal network dealing in the trade of human beings. According to survivors, buyers of commercial sex range from high end customers with fetishes to customers at massage parlors who are looking for something fast. These buyers may come from a broad range of industries and backgrounds, including locals, visitors/tourists, and military, but one thing is certain: they are predators.
At the hands of these predators and traffickers, victims often survive intense violence. Including rape, the violence can turn brutal with survivors recounting bruises and sometimes injuries so extreme, they must be taken to the hospital. Due to the nature of the crime and despite the overwhelming need for support and healing of survivors, this issue thrives in the darkness. Recent studies have helped us understand the experiences of survivors and these voices inform our response.
“Ho`ōla Nā Pua, meaning ‘New Life for Our Children,’ was founded to shine light onto the dark criminal enterprise of sex trafficking, placing the health of Hawaii’s youth at the center of our mission and vision for our community.”