Prosecutors work on global sex trafficking cases in Hawaii
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Prosecutors work on global sex trafficking cases in Hawaii

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Michael Ramos, district attorney for San Bernardino County and president of the National District Attorneys Association, speaks at a summit on sex trafficking at the Sheraton Waikiki today. Prosecutors are calling the scourge of sex trafficking a form of modern-day slavery that touches every state in the nation, and they’re working to draw connections between active investigations around the globe at a summit in Waikiki.

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / JAN. 2016

    Hoola Napua volunteers Bryan Muoz, left, and Johnny Bitanga held a sign reading, “Stop sex trafficking on our islands” at a rally to support Human Trafficking Awareness Day at Tamarind Park in Honolulu on Jan. 11.

Prosecutors are calling the scourge of sex trafficking a form of modern-day slavery that touches every state in the nation, and they’re working to draw connections between active investigations around the globe at a summit in Waikiki.

Representatives from eight countries and a dozen states met to share details about cases of victims forced into the sex industry, hoping to collaborate on strategies to bring traffickers to justice.

“Sex trafficking internationally is somewhere between a $7 billion and $23 billion business,” said Cyrus Vance Jr., district attorney for New York County. “It’s second to international arms sales in terms of the scope of the crime and the money that’s involved with it. So it’s huge. And it’s in every community in America — whether we like to acknowledge it or not — and every country around the world.”

Prosecutors form from Canada, China, Japan, Palau, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand attended the summit, along with American prosecutors from Hawaii and states spanning the coasts and the Midwest.

In New York City, where there’s a special court to handle cases involving prostitution or sex trafficking, many young men and women are brought in from other states and forced to work in the sex industry, Vance said.

California law enforcement officers have encountered victims forced into the sex trade from Mexico, Taiwan and China, but most of the victims were born in the United States, said Michael Ramos, district attorney for San Bernardino County and president of the National District Attorneys Association.

“Yes we have a problem internationally … but we really have a homegrown problem, and we need to take care of that,” Ramos said.

Prosecutors in Hawaii have found sex-trafficking victims brought to the U.S. from China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Korea and Thailand, Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro said. In the past year, the prosecutor’s office has closed down three massage parlors in Honolulu that involved Asian sex-trafficking victims, including one case where sex workers from China were flown to New York and then Hawaii, he said.

“There are a lot of massage parlors proliferating in our community,” Kaneshiro said.

The conference, which began today, is being held in Hawaii, which was the last state in the nation to formally ban sex trafficking.

Kaneshiro, who co-sponsored the summit, said they intend to send a clear message that sex trafficking will not be tolerated.

Most of the law enforcement conference is closed to the media because prosecutors will be discussing ongoing cases and sharing intelligence, Kaneshiro said.

“We have international investigations ongoing, but we have not built those cases to indictment yet,” Vance said. “That’s the point of this event. I know that there’s international traffic coming in from Europe and from Asia. But we need to have the relationships with those governments to help us understand what they’re seeing and then build the cases.”

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  • End the prohibition on pay for sex, and with a legal operation these sick human rights violations will be exposed much easier. It’s simple, allow consenting adults to negotiate their own private deals and allow the State to go after the criminals.

  • Legalize the business already. Marriage is already a form of legal prostitution. Time to allow, non-marital prostitution. All the countries, and counties in the US where non-marital prostitution is legal don’t have trafficking issues. Trafficking only exists in areas where legal non-marital prostitution is illegal.

  • I was Federally Deputized in 1993 after capturing two US Citizens in South Korea who attempted to abduct a stranded 16 year old Korean girl. You can legalize prostitution but you will not ked rid of these barbarians. So you have a legal brothel. I kidnap someone and threaten to muder their family if she doesn’t go there an pimp herself out. It’s ironic that this summit was held here in Hawaii. We are a hub. A major hub. We also have HPD scumbags involved in sextrafficking and they will be handcuffed. In 2014 a young woman who went to work diligently riding the A Buss from Moilili to Alakea and Bertania then walking down Alakea to go to her work every morning just before 8:30 was abducted by three HPD Officers right outside of the effing COURTHOUSE. She was reescued with no help of local law enforcement.

    As a former Red Team, Assault Team, Team Leader, my asdvice is to clean up shop then hunt and destroy.

    We are going to handcuff every person involved in these abductions in Honolulu and we don’t need any local law enforcement agency to do it.

    I am the real Samuel S Fisher. Literally.

    I hat sexaffickers, I hate slavers, I hate Opression.

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