Honolulu (KHON2) – Local non-profit organization Ho’ola Na Pua will host the National Human Trafficking Awareness Month: Walk & Fair in downtown Honolulu on opening day of the State Legislative session, January 15th, to raise awareness about modern day slavery.
Every day, women, men, and children are sold and exploited in modern day slavery around the world, across the nation and within the heart of Hawaii.
Hundreds will come together from 11am-12:30pm to learn more about the fight against human trafficking and then join the advocacy walk from Bishop Square to the Hawaii State Capitol. The walk commits to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking in support of legislation that funds important work combatting the crisis in Hawaii.
Jessica Munoz, President and Founder of Ho’ola Na Pua says, “Safety is the Number 1 need our youth have. Physical, emotional, and mental safety and security.
Our youth who have been exploited or are high risk for being exploited and need to be empowered — empowered to make decisions and to live out the dreams they have had and continue to have.”
She adds that, “They need consistent stable support from adults in their life — especially during transitional times (placements, programs, independent living); proper mental health intervention, adjunct therapies, and resources to help them process their trauma.”
It’s not about restarting their life — they are learning how to keep living in light of what has happened to them. They are learning to not be defined by the things that have happened to them, to build an identity outside of being trafficked.
We all struggle not to let labels define us. It’s the same thing for these youth. They struggle with a sense of shame and learning to be able to move past the shame. Our hope for our youth is for them to be able to move from survivor to thriving and living a healthy life with multiple layers of support. Healing is life-long.
Lt. Governor Josh Green and State Attorney General Clare Connors will speak at the WALK & FAIR rally advocating their commitment to see change on the state level. Department of Homeland Security Acting Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cabral will also speak about how law enforcement plays a critical role in intercepting and capturing predators.
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month was first declared by President Obama in 2011.
Last month, the White House declared in a proclamation, “we remain relentless in our resolve to bring perpetrators to justice.”
Ho’ola Na Pua is committed to the prevention of sex trafficking and providing care for children who have been exploited. We work to not only provide direct service but to help create and support the systemic changes needed to end the exploitation of children.
Since 2014, Ho’ola Na Pua has educated over 9,000 students with its in-school prevention program (includes Oahu, Hawaii island and Maui).
The non-profit has educated over 7,000 professionals through training on identification, intervention, and responding to situations of trafficking; provided one-to-one mentoring and advocacy for over 30 youth through its Starfish Mentoring Program last year alone.
Ho’ola Na Pua has reached over 100,000 people from diverse sectors in direct outreach and contact within the community since 2014.
In 2020, Ho’ola Na Pua will continue to expand services to provide more prevention education and trainings and more support for survivors.
About Ho’ola Na Pua
Ho’ōla Nā Pua is committed to the prevention of sex trafficking and providing care for children who have been exploited. Meaning “New Life for Our Children,” Ho’ōla Nā Pua is a 501(c)3 founded in 2013 to serve the children of Hawaii. We envision a community where children are safe and have the ability to embrace their bright future. Ho’ōla Nā Pua’s programs are designed to provide wrap around protective and support factors to children.
Follow updates about Ho’ola Na Pua at www.hoolanapua.org