Governor Ige Vetoes Senate Bill 265

This week Hawai’i Governor David Ige vetoed Senate bill 265, which was intended to address significant needs in the fight to combat human trafficking.

SB 265 was a culmination of great efforts from legislators, community advocates, and anti-trafficking activists to address sex trafficking in Hawai‘i.  Hoʻōla Nā Pua was among the organizations advocating for the passage of the bill, alongside many of our volunteers and those we encouraged to support it. Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s position has been and remains that the State of Hawai’i still requires comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that addresses sex trafficking victimization, essential support and services for victims, and tough consequences for traffickers and those who demand such services.

Hoʻōla Nā Pua commends all persons and organizations who participated in the effort to pass SB 265, and is grateful for responses to the call for support of the bill. We worked with those who advocated for the bill and we worked to reason with those who opposed it. We do believe there remains a capability to address sex trafficking in existing laws that requires extra diligence by law enforcement and prosecutors. They may use the available statutory tools to the disadvantage of perpetrators and with sincere diligence to identify, protect, and move victims through appropriate systems of care. Notwithstanding, we do still believe that a more comprehensive and specific sex trafficking law is absolutely necessary in the State of Hawai’i.

Hoʻōla Nā Pua stands by their President’s recent statement in the Star Advertiser (“Sex trafficking targeted at isle hotels”  July 13, 2015) : “We shouldn’t let disappointment cause us to lose hope. If this bill doesn’t go through, it’s not the end of the world. Hoʻōla Nā Pua will continue to press forward toward the mission of bringing healing and renewal to children’s lives who have been affected by this crime.” It is also Hoʻōla Nā Pua’s hope that efforts focus on the problem, and that all those involved work to collaborate to have the necessary collective impact needed to defeat the sex trafficking problem in Hawai’i.

Hoʻōla Nā Pua is pleased to announce the achievement of substantial milestones in the process of licensing and permitting the girls campus site project. This project will provide a home for underage girls rescued from sex trafficking and will be the first of its kind in Hawai‘i.  A Finding of No Significant Impact was released by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) for the Environmental Assessment, which clears the path to obtaining a formal lease of the 12-acre property where the campus will be located. Also, the State Health Planning Development Agency issued approval for a Certificate of Need that clears the path for an application for the Special Treatment Program Permit required for the operation of the facility. Finally, Hoʻōla Nā Pua  received a fence permit from the Department of Permitting and Planning that included approval from the Historic Preservation Department and the Shoreline Management Agency. This permit releases grant funds from Harold K.L. Castle Foundation to build a fence, security system and perimeter landscaping at the site.

To learn more about the comprehensive holistic therapy we plan for each resident who will be placed within our care, click here.

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