Human Trafficking Not Pono!

The U.S. State Department estimates that thousands of human beings, many of them children, are trafficked each year into the United States to work in the sex trade or as slave labor. Women and children have been forced to work in prostitution and child pornography rings, and even coerced into different types of manual labor, without pay or protection. As an organization that cares deeply about the family, especially the children, we find this both reprehensible and unacceptable.

In Hawaii, many child victims of human trafficking commonly seek to escape their personal struggles with the hope of finding opportunity and a brighter future. It is in these types of environments that human traffickers flourish, promising these precious keiki an opportunity to travel, at no immediate expense, for employment and housing. What they find instead, is coercion, abuse, entrapment, and sexual exploitation in a brothel, a massage parlor, or an agricultural outpost. By the time they are rescued, if ever, they are shattered by physical, mental, and psychological abuse. Many become ill and some have even lost their life.

As a faith‐based organization that fought to protect children from sexual exploitation (our organization was instrumental in the raising of the age of consent in Hawaii from 14 to 16), we support measures that help protect Hawai’i’s keiki from abuse and exploitation.