October 12, 2017

NCOSE Trainings in Hawaii Helped Pave the Way to New Government Resource on Trafficking

Earlier this past September, NCOSE’s very own Vice President of Research and Education, Lisa Thompson, traveled to Hawaii to speak at a statewide training titled “Understanding and Recognizing Trafficking in Persons”. This week-long training series was hosted by Representative Andria Tupola and the partnership of Hawaii’s State Department of Health and Department of Human Services. This was a follow-up event from when NCOSE’s Senior Vice President and Executive, Dawn Hawkins, last visited Hawaii.

Hawaii is a popular destination for tourism and dream vacations due to the many beautiful natural attractions on the islands. Unfortunately, Hawaii is under-resourced and there are high-risk factors for human trafficking that include the large homeless population, the tourism industry, and the fact that most of the state’s revenue comes from agriculture and fishing farms— all which serve as a popular destination for trafficking. The purpose of this training was to be an introduction to human trafficking to help educate Hawaiian citizens. Lisa spoke on both labor and sex trafficking, but with more emphasis on sex trafficking.

During her trip, she traveled to the Hawaiian Islands Maui, Oahu, Kauai and “The Big Island” for thetrainings. At Oahu, Lisa spoke at the Brigham Young University Hawaii (BYUH) campus that was followed by a panel discussion with BYUH Law students. On the last day of the training series, Lisa spoke to nonprofits, and government officials at the State Capitol of Hawaii located in Honolulu, and then at the family courts where she spoke to judges and paralegals.

Her trainings were very interactive with practical case studies and when asked if anyone had learned any new information from her sessions, everyone’s hand raised. She also provided links to stoptraffickingdemand.com for anyone who was interested in further trainings.

One victory that has happened since the past trainings is that the Hawaii State Department of Health and Human Services developed and implemented the protocol that child trafficking victims in Hawaii are referred to child welfare services first, rather than being immediately sent to the juvenile system.

Also as a result of this training, Hawaii is working on a state government website that addresses human trafficking.

This is why these trainings are important because they are helping people identify what trafficking looks like.

Would you like to request a NCOSE representative to speak in your area? Email public@ncose.com to inquire for more information.

Aubrie Smith


Aubrie Smith joined the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in August 2017 as a generalist intern. Although she is local of northern Virginia, Aubrie is currently a senior at The University of Alabama as an undergraduate student studying social work. As a current member of the National Association of Social Workers’ Alabama chapter, Aubrie is passionate about advocating for the protection of human rights and combating violence against women and children. Prior to joining NCOSE, Aubrie’s passion for social justice grew when she was selected by her university’s School of Social Work to attend and participate in the Alabama Conference of Social Work in Gulf Shores, Alabama and in the 33rd International Symposium on Child Abuse hosted by the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In Alabama, she spent her free time volunteering and working with clients at a therapeutic horseback riding program, which is another passion of hers.

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