Added: Danette Bittinger - Date: 22.12.2021 12:56 - Views: 26039 - Clicks: 1141
For the uninitiated, she breaks the city down into two zones. This is not your typical Hawaiian holiday tour.
Those tend to involve snorkelling adventures or biking down sooty volcanoes. But hidden behind the pristine image of this Pacific paradise is a thriving sex tourism industry. The streets are mostly empty in the mornings, but today there is some activity in a park — a fair or festival of sorts has drawn a meagre crowd. Then she points.
Right here. A female, possibly in her teens, is standing on a corner.
She had been doing the same thing a few blocks earlier. She is standing alone, checking her phone. Bitanga is one of an unknown, and some say very difficult to measure, of children and women who have been forced into sex work in Hawaii. For each brothel, there are between three to 15 girls, mostly from Asia and some youth victims.
There are also girls from Russia and parts of Eastern Europe. A large of the women are taken to or through Honolulu, Oahu, a centre for tourism and conventions and home to a large transient military population. Clients are usually men with money, some military, some tourists, Xian says. Many come from Asia or mainland United States, but there are local clients as well. But it has been this way for almost two centuries, she adds, telling the story of the first case she knows of fromwhen American whalers trafficked a young girl.
In Hawaii, Sensley says, networks import victims from abroad, but the trade does not exclude locals. Instead of being treated like survivors of rape and psychological abuse, they are put in the difficult position of having to give evidence against their abusers and face grave consequences, or face criminal charges themselves, Xian explains.
As a result, victims typically drop their cases. Xian, whose organisation had drafted the new law, said she had hoped it would bring Hawaii up to speed with the rest of the US. Hawaii remains the only state in the US with no comprehensive law specifically criminalising sex trafficking while protecting victims from prosecution, she said.
She shares the story of one who was lured into prostitution four years ago, when she was At a mall in Waikiki, she met two men in their late 20s who promised her fame and fortune. They gave her drugs and then her instructions: She had to go to Chinatown, wait on a street corner and meet a client. Munoz says the girl was afraid so did as they told her. Even when she gave birth to a baby fathered by her pimp and served a short prison sentence for prostitution, she felt unable to leave the sex trade.
Now, aged 18, she is still working as a prostitute, Munoz says. There is no particular victim profile, Munoz explains. The girls can be as young as 11 or 12, she says. Once they are in the trade, the girls are often afraid of what their pimp might do to their families, she says. But the typical way they are brought into the sex trade is different from what the public might think.
Eventually, a few days or weeks later, they are ordered to have sex with a client. The victims are pushed into the first encounter in several ways, Xian says.
Sometimes they are gang-raped and beaten into submission. Other times they are drugged into compliance. At that rate, they must serve between 10 to 15, but sometimes even 20, men a day. The fees for children are much higher, Xian says.
She was 16 then. Over a traditional Hawaiian breakfast of pancakes with coconut syrup, Bitanga describes the gruesome reality of underage sexual exploitation. Escape is near impossible, she says. The girls can end up in prison or with criminal records, the public is largely in denial about the problem, and the victims do not get the therapy they need to move on and heal, she adds.
Now she is fighting the impulse to return to sex work. It is not very different from what happened to Bitanga. She paid for her own ticket from two nights of prostitution and ended up in an Anchorage massage parlour, where she handed her earnings to a pimp. She returned to Hawaii two months later and stayed in the sex trade. Her pimp was not violent or coercive, she adds. He showed me affection, he gave me nice things, he boyfriended me into wanting to do it. That was in the s, and she has spent her whole life since trying to leave the world she was pulled into. Even when she had a professional job, at one time as a paralegal for a prominent lawyer, she still went out at night.
It was impossible to stop, she explains, because she did not value her body and it was the only world she knew. Now that she is about 50, she no longer works as a prostitute. Instead, she volunteers to help trafficked teens who have managed to escape to stay out of sex work, and she is a vocal advocate for treating them as victims, not criminals. Police weigh defamation case against investigator who fled to Australia and has implicated senior security officials.
By Roxana Popescu. Deep roots But it has been this way for almost two centuries, she adds, telling the story of the first case she knows of fromwhen American whalers trafficked a young girl.
A failure to help victims One of the most frustrating things for Xian is what happens to the victims who manage to escape. The US human-trafficking report. Asylum row highlights Thai human trafficking. Human trafficking plagues UAE. Al Jazeera speaks to one victim forced to work in the sex trade in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
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