State, County, and Community Members step up to combat sex-trafficking
News Release from Defend the Family, Nov 8, 2019
HONOLULU, HAWAII - A string of attempted kidnappings with the intention to traffic young girls had made its way into Hawaii communities, and in 2015, caused Andria Tupola to start the annual Defend The Family sex-trafficking awareness conference. “With the number of local children & adults being kidnapped and trafficked in Hawaii every year, awareness and education on the signs of human trafficking have become vital and this conference helps us to identify the gaps and where we can improve” said Andria Tupola.
This year Tina Frundt is the featured guest speaker. She is the founder of Courtney’s House in D.C which is the only African American youth drop-in center being run by a survivor with a state contract to focus on sex-trafficked youth in the foster care system. She is a survivor of sex trafficking and dedicates her life to helping women, men, and children heal from domestic sex-trafficking and commercial sex exploitation. Courtney’s House has helped more than 1,000 survivors escape from being trafficked and find a new life.
The conference started on Tuesday in Hilo with opening remarks from Mitch Roth, Hawaii Island County Prosecutor. There were 43 individuals registered and the conference was an eye opening experience for social workers, law enforcement and community members. On Wednesday, the conference was opened by the Maui Prosecutor's Office with remarks being delivered by Deputy Prosecutor, Robert Rivera, who shared about their new program called HOME - Helping Our Maui Exploited. Yesterday, Kauai County Prosecutor, Justin Kollar, shared his remarks about their efforts on Kauai. Information was shared about effective assessment questions, youth empowered drop-in centers, law enforcement techniques, and signs of trafficked individuals. Today there will be two sessions on Oahu at Kalihi Union Church from 9-1pm and Kong’s Chapel in Niu Valley from 6-7pm. Over 150 attendees from various non-profit organizations and state agencies participated in the week long event.
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Tina Frundt was appointed by President Obama in 2015 to the White House advisory council for human trafficking, and she is now the council chair under the current administration. She is a faculty member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the first survivor and non-judge our lawyer that was nominated as a faculty member. Tina is a member of a new advisory council of survivors appointed to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
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