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Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Hawaii Receives Tier 1 Status in State Rankings in Combating Human Trafficking With Legislation
By News Release @ 4:19 AM :: 5219 Views :: Energy, Environment

Hawaii Receives Tier 1 Status in State Rankings in Combating Human Trafficking With Legislation

News Release from PASS
Hawaii is now ranked a Tier 1 state according to Polaris Project’s State Ranking system, a considerable improvement from a Tier 4 ranking in 2010. A Tier 1 status is the highest ranking for any state to receive on passing effective legislation to combat trafficking.

Since 2010, the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS), Imua Alliance, Girl Fest Hawaii, state law makers, law enforcement, and advocates have been successful in passing Hawaii's first labor trafficking law, reforms to the promoting prostitution statutes, and this year's vacating convictions law which allows victims of sex-trafficking/coerced prostitution to vacate their records on prostitution convictions if they were held in servitude at the time of the conviction.

“Being ranked a Tier 1 state is a great sign of success in Hawaii's shift toward taking Human Trafficking seriously and working toward abolition. We intend to further this progress with four bills next session: Safe Harbor legislation to protect child-victims, a bill for ending the demand for prostitution, a hotline posting bill, and a bill allowing restitution for victims.” says Kathryn Xian, executive director of PASS.
“I'm ecstatic that legislative efforts have yielded what experts view as an effective legal framework” said Kris Coffield, legislative director of IMUAlliance. “That framework will be hollow, however, unless we step up prosecution of those who patronize and profit off slavery, while continuing to strengthen services for victims.”
“Over the last several years the great state of Hawaii has made significant strides to improve their legal framework to fight human trafficking” said James Dold, Policy Counsel for Polaris Project. “Hawaii’s current rating is the result of tireless efforts by organizations like PASS and IMUAlliance, as well as leadership by the Governor, Attorney General, Honolulu Prosecutor, and legislative champions like Senators Suzanne Chun Oakland and Clayton Hee, Representatives John Mizuno, Karen Awana, and Marilyn Lee. Their efforts on this issue have been a living testament to the state’s motto: Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono or “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”
However, the work to abolish trafficking in Hawaii is far from over. Advocates across the nation as well as in Hawaii know that this rating system only focuses on legislation enacted to combat Human Trafficking and not on the implementation of these laws. Hawaii is no exception to the need of more enforcement of its new laws to end Human Trafficking.
“We have the tools. Now we need to use them. The problem is definitely out there." stated Xian.
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