Bill proposes anti-sex trafficking law for Hawaii

Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery and IMUAlliance are drafting and sponsoring a bill to ban sex trafficking in Hawaii this session.

For the 2015 legislative session, Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery and IMUAlliance are drafting and sponsoring a bill to ban sex trafficking in Hawaii. Currently, Hawaii is one of only two states that fail to outlaw sex trafficking in their criminal codes.

“The struggle to establish a sex trafficking law began in 2005 and the implementation of this law is long overdue. A strong sex trafficking definition would allow the state to move forward in effectively combating human trafficking in a victim-centered way,” said Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery Executive Director Kathryn Xian.

“The lack of a sex trafficking ban silences efforts to eliminate sexual slavery on our shores,” said IMUAlliance Executive Director Kris Coffield. “Without a definition of sex trafficking in state law, we cannot adequately identify victims of this horrible crime or create a social services system that addresses their needs.”

The bill would convert the state’s promoting prostitution laws into sex trafficking in the first and second degree. It would also eliminate the statute of limitations for sex trafficking cases and enable solicitation of sex trafficking victims to be prosecuted as a trafficking offense.

“A sex trafficking law would not only allow us to see more accurate statistics and studies on human trafficking in Hawaii, but also would identify victims appropriately as unwilling participants in their own exploitation. These victims are not criminals,” said Xian.

“We must remove the ‘prostitute’ label from people who have no say in their actions,” said Coffield. “When you call someone a prostitute, especially a child, you brand her as a criminal. That can jeopardize her ability to obtain a job, housing, and sustainable lifestyle.”

Additionally, PASS and IMUAlliance have drafted a proposal to separate johns from sex trafficking victims in the state’s prostitution code by creating a new “solicitation of prostitution” statute to cover paying for sex. Hawaii’s prostitution laws presently include johns and victims in the same statute, making it difficult to implement legals reforms aimed at ending demand for sex trafficking.

“Our current laws make it difficult to obtain statistics related to this crime against humanity. For example, under current law, patrons of prostitution, the “johns,” are included in the same statutory category as prostituted persons, which makes it nearly impossible to end the demand by increasing criminal penalties for buyers of women and children for sex,” said Xian.

“Johns provide the demand that drives sex trafficking,” said Coffield. “Buyers are criminals paying for the opportunity to victimize women and girls. Our laws must target the financial facilitators of exploitation, while treating survivors as victims of sexual violence.”

IMUAlliance is a nonpartisan political advocacy organization devoted to advancing human rights, socioeconomic equality, and educational opportunity.

The Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS), is a Hawaii-based not-for-profit 501(c)3 whose mission is to stop human trafficking in Hawaii and the Pacific. PASS provides services and advocacy for survivors of human trafficking, education and training on the identification of victims of human trafficking, and public awareness and prevention education for the greater community.

Army downsize proponents make themselves heard

Despite being outnumbered at the Army listening sessions, proponents of a dramatic Army personnel reduction were able to make a successful case for the full downsize.

Will Caron
Women’s Caucus targets violence, health and the high cost of living

The Women’s Legislative Caucus, consisting of members from both the State Senate and House, today announced a joint package of measures for the 2015 legislative session.

Will Caron
Hawaii nonprofit recognized for establishment of Hawaii Environmental Court

The Outdoor Circle has been recognized by a major national non-profit for its work establishing an environmental court here in Hawaii.

At its annual awards ceremony Tuesday, national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful recognized The Outdoor Circle for its distinguished service in helping to pass Act 218, SLH 2014, which established Hawaii’s Environmental Court. Hawaii is only the second state in the U.S. to establish a statewide court to adjudicate environmental cases.

“This is a great honor and a wonderful opportunity to build stronger relationships with other environmental advocates from around the country,” said Outdoor Circle Board President, Alexandra Avery. “We are grateful to be recognized for our hard work helping to keep Hawaii clean, green and beautiful.”

While in Washington D.C., President Avery and others visited with Hawaii’s congressional delegation, including Senator Schatz, Congresswoman Gabbard and Congressman Takai. 

“I want to sincerely thank the members of The Outdoor Circle for their devoted service to Hawaii, and congratulate this great organization on being honored by Keep America Beautiful,” said Congressman Mark Takai. “I was proud to work alongside The Outdoor Circle and other state legislators to help create the Hawaii Environmental Court. We need to protect Hawaii’s natural beauty, and the establishment of this court will go a long way toward preserving our Islands for future generations.”

Keep America Beautiful is a national non-profit working to protect the environment, improve communities, and beautify public spaces. The establishment of environmental courts in the U.S. as a way to improve environmental protection is a key goal of both organizations.

The Outdoor Circle partnered with Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful, the Hawaii affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, to advocate for the establishment of Hawaii’s Environmental Court. A court specializing in environmental cases will help to improve enforcement against violations of our public trust resources, such as road-side dumping, illegal fishing, and water contamination.  Hawaii’s court will go into effect on July 1, 2015.

Selling sex online

Developments in technology have made it easier than ever to sell sex and harder than ever to prosecute human trafficking crimes as sex rings move off the streets and onto websites.

Marina Riker
Conservationists mobilize against Ige’s DLNR nomination

More than twenty groups oppose Carleton Ching as new chair of the land and resource-management arm of the executive branch of the state government.

Will Caron
Stop broadcast license renewals for the Raycom Media cartel

The danger of the Hawaii News Now media monopoly.

Petition opposing Ige’s DLNR nomination surpasses goal

Governor stands behind "the right person for the job."

Ikaika M Hussey
Ten years ago, Ching called for LUC to be dismantled

Ching: "Just sign a document and tell us go"

From a 2005 Honolulu Advertiser report by Gordon Pang on a move by Carleton Ching, Igeʻs nominee to DLNR, to remove regulations on development.

Housing developers told legislators yesterday that it takes too long to get government approvals and urged them to streamline the land-use process, in part by reducing the role of the state Land Use Commission.

The lack of affordable housing is “a supply-and-demand issue,” said Carleton Ching, director of community and governmental relations for Castle & Cooke Homes. The housing supply cannot meet the demand when applications for such projects are tied up in the lengthy permit process, he said.

Ching was one of a number of developers who appeared before the Senate’s task force on affordable housing yesterday. Streamlining the land-use process was among the suggestions made in a report issued Monday by a government and private industry task force coordinated by the Housing and Community Development Corp. of Hawai’i.

It often takes four years to obtain approvals from the Land Use Commission and another two more years to get county permits, Ching said, “and then you go get the (building) permits after that.”

Asked by one senator how long it should take to approve a housing development, Ching deadpanned, “Just sign a document and tell us go,” drawing laughter from yesterday’s participants.

Via Henry Curtis. Curtis notes that in 2008 Calvin Say advanced HB 2683, which would have also abolished the LUC. That bill was killed by the State Senate.

Ikaika M Hussey
David Ige, one-term wonder?

The new governor's selection of a development lobbyist to head the land-resource management branch of the state government is alienating many of his supporters.

Stephen Fox