President Joe Biden this week signed a bill that would provide funding for organizations working to end sex trafficking of Native Hawaiian Girls.
USA Today reports the newly amended Violence Against Women Act of 1994 authorizes the Justice Department to award grants to address violence against Native Hawaiian women.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) successfully pushed for the changes to the act.
“Like other Native communities across the country, Native Hawaiians experience disproportionately high levels of sexual and gender-based violence,” Sen. Hirono said to Maui Now. “Despite this crisis, Native Hawaiian women have long been unjustly excluded from accessing much-needed resources for survivors provided through the Violence Against Women Act.”
More than two-thirds of sex trafficking victims in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian women and girls. Yet they make up only 10 percent of the population. The average age of those victims is just 15.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, a recent report found just 2 percent of the 5700 cases of missing and murdered girls in dozens of cities are logged into the Justice Department database. The report blamed the lack of data for the small amount of attention this issue has received.
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