Merrie Monarch and Ho’ōla Nā Pua: Dreaming of Brighter Futures

Child trafficking and exploitation is a grim reality that shadows the picturesque landscapes of Hawaii. Ho’ōla Nā Pua stands at the forefront of battling this crisis, dreaming of brighter futures for the vulnerable youth on the islands.

Our work is pivotal in shining light on the unsettling statistics that underline the extent of this issue locally. 64% of sex trafficking victims are identified as Native Hawaiian, indicating a disproportionate impact on this community.

In Hawaii, the majority of trafficking victims have a heartbreaking familiarity with their exploiters, often being family members, friends, or intimate partners. This betrayal of trust deepens the trauma experienced by the victims. A staggering 69% of these individuals have faced homelessness, highlighting the vulnerability and desperation that can lead to their exploitation. The national average age of first exploitation stands at 14, but in Hawaii, this age drops alarmingly. On average, children in Hawaii are first exploited at 11 years old, with the age on Hawaii Island being as low as 8.

These statistics are not just numbers; they represent real lives caught in the web of exploitation and abuse. The mission of Ho’ōla Nā Pua is not just about awareness but active intervention and prevention. Eliminating the demand is crucial—no buyers mean no business for pimps and traffickers, and consequently, no victims.

Being part of the change means recognizing the scale and specifics of the problem, then contributing to the solution.

 Through education, advocacy, and direct support, we can help dismantle the dark market of child trafficking and rebuild the lives of those affected. The dream of brighter futures is possible, and it starts with confronting the harsh realities and standing in solidarity against the exploitation of children.

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