NCOSE Trainings in Hawaii Helped Pave the Way to New Government Resource on Trafficking
In September, NCOSE’s Vice President and Director of Research and Education Lisa Thompson travelled to Hawaii to speak at a statewide training series titled “Understanding and Recognizing Trafficking in Persons.” This week of events was hosted by state Representative Andria Tupola in partnership with Hawaii’s State Department of Health and Department of Human Services. This training series was held in follow up to the visit NCOSE’s Senior Vice President and Executive Dawn Hawkins made to Hawaii last year in which she spoke at several events on topics of sexual exploitation.
Hawaii is a popular destination for tourism and dream vacations due to the many beautiful natural attractions on the islands. Despite its natural beauty and international popularity, Hawaii is under resourced and has 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—all which are known sectors for human trafficking. The purpose of the training series was to educate Hawaiian citizens and professionals in fields like law enforcement, social services, education, and more, on how to recognize the trafficking process and identify victims. Lisa spoke on both labor and sex trafficking.
During her trip Lisa traveled to the Hawaiian Islands Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and “The Big Island” of Hawaii for the training events. On Oahu, Lisa spoke to honor students Brigham Young University Hawaii (BYUH). This 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, paralegals, and parole officers.
Her trainings were very interactive with practice case studies. When Rep. Tupola asked if anyone had learned any new information from her sessions, everyone’s hand was raised.
Before this event, Hawaii’s State Department of Health and Human Services began developing and implementing an effective protocol in which child trafficking victims are immediately referred to child welfare services, rather than being sent to the juvenile system. The training helped ensure that those involved in this process have a firm understanding of the human trafficking process.
As a direct result of this training, the officials in Hawaii are working to create an informational website about human trafficking, so that citizens can have a convenient site for locating key information about human trafficking in their state.
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