On January 11th, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Ho’ōla Nā Pua hosted its first annual Human Trafficking Awareness Walk and Fair at Bishop Square.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and it has become a powerful tool to open the eyes of the general public to the realities of Human Trafficking. Even for those who are well versed in the statistics of CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) in Hawai’i, it is a sobering reminder of the necessity for these educational and advocating events.
Ho’ōla Nā Pua’s Human Trafficking Awareness Walk and Fair began in the heart of Honolulu at Bishop Square bright and early at 7:00 am. There were over 50 people who took part in the walk, yet over 500 people were reached thanks to morning traffic with the message and vision of advocating for the victims of this social injustice!
The Fair afterward was an awesome collaboration between many groups united against CSEC and human trafficking, including:
- CFS, Islands of Hope
- Pacific Gateway Center
- Parents and Children Together
- Child & Family Services
- Made in Hope
- Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- City and County of Honolulu Mayor’s office
- Honolulu Police Department
Seeing this many organizations coming together to end CSEC in Hawaii is beyond encouraging for those striving for change.
The fair was highlighted by vendors proclaiming their role in this fight. Founder and President of Ho’ōla Nā Pua Jessica Munoz gave a compelling speech about the necessity for advocacy, rehabilitation, and reintegration for victims of CSEC. Afterward, Ho’ōla Nā Pua volunteer and advocate Kaleo Schneider offered education and a time for questions and answers for the public.
In addition, Julie Arigo from the Waikiki Parc Hotel presented a generous gift of a sustaining $1000 to Ho’ōla Nā Pua! Finally, Barbara Yamashita of the Mayor’s office delivered the Mayor’s Proclamation. An exciting moment in Hawai’i’s movement against human trafficking.
This first annual event was a great success. We want to thank the many volunteers that went above and beyond to ensure that this event can help create a positive change in Hawai’i. We also want to offer a special mahalo to Menehune Water Company for donating water for the event as well as Bishop Square for allowing us to hold the event on the property. Finally, we want thank all the participants, exhibitors (above), and collaborators with open minds and hearts who are passionate about a better future for our children!
Here are more pictures from the event. Click for a closer look!