January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and therefore presents an important opportunity to highlight both the tragedy and the trajectory of our state’s response. The Department of the Attorney General has intensified its efforts to prevent human trafficking in our state and is currently:
- Working with the Hawaii State Legislature on bills that will: make it easier to prosecute traffickers, provide better tools to support victims and survivors, and establish a coordinated human trafficking response within our department;
- Coordinating with state agencies on a campaign designed to educate government employees, law enforcement partners and others to recognize signs of human trafficking and implement a statewide multidisciplinary response;
- Establishing a statewide human trafficking website, HawaiiTraffickingHelp.org, that will launch in the next few weeks and will provide our community with current information regarding human trafficking in Hawaii, as well as information about local services and resources for sex and labor trafficking survivors.
Following is a statement from Attorney General Clare E. Connors:
“Human trafficking is a terrible scourge that takes an immense toll on victims and society as a whole. It cannot be tolerated in our community and I have made it a priority issue for our department. As National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month comes to a close, I’d like to share some of the advances we have made and that we intend to make in the coming year. Last May, I appointed the first state human trafficking coordinator tasked with ensuring our state is effectively working with federal and county colleagues as well as private sector entities. This includes making sure that state agencies are properly supported and educated on the myriad issues and that bad actors are prosecuted. For the current legislative session, our department has introduced a comprehensive bill designed to update the state criminal sex trafficking statutes, which will allow us to better protect victims and hold offenders accountable.
Finally, this year, together with the Mississippi Attorney General, I am honored to co-chair the National Association of Attorneys General Human Trafficking Committee, and look forward to collaborating with attorneys general nationwide to promote best practices for combating human trafficking.”