In 2016, after a collaborative community effort, Hawaii put state trafficking laws into place. The law provides more protection for children exploited by sex traffickers. There is now more focus on prosecuting perpetrators instead of criminalizing victims. The new laws make it easier for the police and Hawaii’s justice system to send child victims to places like our facility instead of juvenile detention centers.
Hoʻōla Nā Pua does not participate in lobbying. We do, however, support legislation that protects keiki (children) affected by sex trafficking. Shared Hope International has been a leader in the area of national legislative changes surrounding this issue. Shared Hope Internationalis an invaluable resource and serves to guide us as we evaluate legislation being proposed here in Hawaii.
Relevant Sex Trafficking Laws in Hawaii
Section 712-1202 (b) prohibits “Advancing” or “Promoting” the prostitution of a person less than eighteen years old. (Class A Felony – up to 20 yrs).
Section 707-757 prohibits “using a computer or any other electronic device [phone]” to arrange through a person advancing or promoting for meeting with a child. (Class C felony – up to 5 yrs).
Section 712-1209.1 prohibits a person 18 years or older from offering a minor a fee for over for sex. (Class C Felony – up to 5 yrs)
During the 2014 legislative session, lawmakers passed three bills supported by Ho’ōla Nā Pua. HB 1926 prohibits use of the “mistake of age” defense by johns who solicit children for prostitution, while subjecting perpetrators of child sex trafficking to enhanced sex offender sentencing guidelines. HB 2038 establishes a special fund to subsidize services for victims of sex trafficking. Capitalized through fees assessed on pimps and johns, the fund will generate an estimated $250,000 annually for sex trafficking survivors. Finally, HB 1750 criminalizes non-consensually disclosing an image or video of a person in the nude or engaging in sexual conduct, more commonly called “revenge porn.” In the Internet Age, revenge porn is used to coerce potential victims into sex trafficking through the threat of public humiliation. This year Hawaii became just the third state to ban revenge porn, making us a leader in protecting children from online exploitation. More work remains, however, including the passage of a comprehensive sex trafficking law and funding a secure treatment facility for locally trafficked children.
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“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.”