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The Conversation

There's a new local effort to help sex trafficking victims on the path to recovery

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January is National Slavery and Sex Trafficking Prevention Month, and one of the local nonprofits working to eliminate sex trafficking in Hawaiʻi is Imua Alliance. It's been around since 2011.

Imua Alliance estimates there are 150 high-risk sex trafficking establishments in Hawaiʻi. As part of its efforts to help victims transition out of the commercial sex trade, the organization launched its Host Homes Program this month.

Similar to the foster parent model, the program trains families to provide comprehensive support to young adult trafficking survivors that choose to stay with them during their first months of recovery.

The Conversation sat down with Kris Coffield, the founder and executive director of Imua Alliance, to learn more about the new program — and the process for survivors to leave that life behind them.  

If a young person is acting out of character, seems shy, or looks like they’re around an older man who is controlling their property, being demeaning to them, and always checking up on them, Coffield says the most useful thing you can do is take a quick photo or video with your phone and send it to authorities or a service provider like Imua Alliance.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Jan. 27, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

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