Panel discussion will address the problem of missing, murdered indigenous Hawaiian women

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At first he was just a friend. He gave Ashley Mahaa a gift and attention. But then he gave her a drug and became dominant and abusive. He punished her for breaking the vague and undefined “rules”, but later apologized and gave her flowers and a wonderful gift.

After a while, he introduced a 17-year-old minor from Honolulu High School into the Hawaiian commercial sex industry.

“I shouldn’t be here with everything that happened. I should be dead and most of the people in my situation are missing or dead, ”said Hawaiians. said Maha.

Mahaa fled the world many years ago and is now the married mother of four children. But it’s in her mind as she joins a new task force to investigate the problems of missing and murdered Indigenous Hawaiian girls and girls. She remembers her plight every day and can fight for others who are similarly trapped and vulnerable.

A panel set up by the State Capitol earlier this year is set to collect data and identify the causes of the problem. Numbers are few at the moment, but there are numbers that suggest indigenous Hawaiians are disproportionately represented among victims of state sex trafficking.

The work included indigenous women and girls and others who were missing and murdered after the recent disappearance of a white woman, Gabby Petite, resulting in widespread national media coverage and widespread law enforcement searches. Comes in a new call to people to pay more attention to their colored races. Petit’s body was later discovered in Wyoming.

A groundbreaking report from the Urban Indian Health Institute in 2016 listed more than 5,700 cases of missing and killed Indigenous girls in dozens of US cities in the Justice Department database. Several states formed similar bodies after it was found that there were only 116 cases.

The Wyoming Task Force states that between 2011 and September 2020, 710 indigenous peoples disappeared there, accounting for 21% of the murder victims, although indigenous peoples make up only 3% of the population. I decided. In Minnesota, the task force led to the establishment of a dedicated office to continue providing awareness and guidance on this issue.

The Urban Indian Health Institute report did not include data on indigenous Hawaiians. This is because the organization is funded by Indian Health Services, a U.S. facility that serves Native American and Alaskan people but not Hawaiians. The Seattle Institute didn’t have the resources to expand the study to Hawaii, Abigail Echohawk said.

This isn’t the first time Native Hawaiians have been on the sidelines in a broader national conversation. Federal efforts to address the problem of missing and killing indigenous women are often focused on Native American and Native American people. One of the reasons is that most of the tribal areas have authority over serious crimes, and the indigenous Hawaiians do not have such lands in the same vein. Like many other Indian communities. A Home Office spokesman said he was working instead to support and cooperate with the island’s government program.

Still, Hawaii faces many of the same challenges as other states, including the lack of data on missing and murdered indigenous women. The exact number of cases nationwide is unknown as many have not been reported or have been well documented or tracked.

The public and private sectors do not always collect racist statistics. Some data also group Indigenous Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders, and it is not possible to determine how affected the Indigenous Hawaiians are. Approximately 20% of the state’s population are Hawaiians.

The task force is led by representatives from the Hawaii Women’s National Commission and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a semi-autonomous state agency overseen by local Hawaiians. The body also includes members of state authorities, district police stations and private organizations.

Khara Jabola-Carolus, executive director of the commission and co-chair of the task force, believes the work shows that Hawaii’s large-scale tourism industry and military presence encourage sex trafficking. .. She said the money made in these sectors gives people an incentive to take girls and women out of their families.

“Someone wasn’t kidnapped on the street. Children and young people are tempted and convinced to cut off their families, ”says Jabora Carrolls.

Native American and Alaskan advocates say Indigenous women and girls have been sexually trafficked too, especially in areas with large populations of male temporary workers.

Mahaa said the size of Hawaii’s commercial sex industry is also reflected in the number of girls and women brought to the island from other states.

“I’ve met so many people on the mainland that many of them have flown here for a while when they are traded nationwide and work here when things get slow. I told myself so because the demand is very high. “

State MP Stacelynn Eli portrayed on June 21, 2021 in Nanakuli, Hawaii. Earlier this year, the Hawaii House of Representatives passed an Eli-sponsored resolution and created a state task force to collect data on missing and murdered Native Hos.

Proponents say that many systematic problems are the cause of the problem. Native Hawaiians have the highest poverty rate (15.5%) of the five largest ethnic groups in Hawaii. It is also one of the most expensive rental or real estate locations in the country.

The history of colonialism, like the indigenous communities of other states, has torn indigenous Hawaiians from their land, language and culture.

Rosemond Pettigrew, chairwoman of Pouhana o na Wahine, a grassroots group of indigenous Hawaiian women who oppose domestic and sexual violence, said the country is family and not connected to the country. He said he was separating the Hawaiian indigenous people from the past.

“When you are no longer in the country, away from what you know and believe, you are left in a place where you do not know where you are from or who you are, and you lose your identity,” she says. I did.

Echo Hawk of the Urban Indian Health Institute said the Hawaiian task force was “monumental” and necessary to understand the full scope of the question.

She believes some of the biggest barriers are law enforcement cooperation and the lack of dedicated funding.

The legislature has not allocated any money to the committee, so that its members fall back on existing resources for their research. The most successful state task force had funds, Echo Hawk said.

Paula Julian, a senior policy specialist at the National Center for Indigenous Womens Resources in Montana, said it was important for the task force to recognize that the problem is rooted in government policy. In the meantime, for Native Hawaiians, the solution has to come from Hawaiians, she said.

Pettigrew said he wanted resources to be protected. For example, Hawaii public schools can teach healthy relationships to students from the first grade of elementary school. Classes allow students to date after entering junior high and high school.

Hawaiian-born Democratic MP, Staslin Eli, who backed the resolution to create the task force, said he had abducted friends and classmates. She doesn’t want her niece to experience the same thing because nobody knew enough to do anything about it.

“We survive and we want our people to get to where we are wealthy and we protect and keep local women and children. I don’t think we will get to that point until we are sure that we are the ones trying to hold them accountable. “

The body plans to produce a legislative report for the states by the end of 2022 and 2023.

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