Beaten, raped, prostituted victims speak out against sex trafficking
Hawaii laws earn failing grade
"I was locked in my house for like two weeks, beaten and raped multiple times throughout the day," said DeeDee, who was only 16 when a family member recruited her.
For four months, an abusive pimp prostituted her on the streets of Waikiki.
"Out on the streets it's very hard. It felt like forever," she said.
They're broken in. Their families are threatened," said victim's advocate Kathryn Xian, who has been fighting for tougher sex trafficking laws for years.
She told KITV4 reporter Lara Yamada that a recent report giving Hawaii a failing grade is only fuel for her cause.
"It's huge. They have no resources, they have no source of help and they are misidentified," she said.
Every month, up to 600 children live homeless in Hawaii and 300 kids are reporting missing.
Hawaii also has some of the highest rates of incarcerated girls, teen suicide, and incest in the country.
"And all of those factors contributes to an environment that's rife for child traffickers," she said.
For the next legislative session in January, Xian is focusing on tougher penalties for those solicitation minors for prostitution or paid sex, which right now is a petty misdemeanor.
"It's the equivalent of staying over hours in a park," said Xian.
"I know it's not something anyone wants to go through," said DeeDee.
She said she's safe at home now, and hoping for tougher laws too, knowing victims are still out there.
"Now that we know what is really going on in prostitution, the education and awareness is changing," said Xian.
"I just want the girls out there to know and everybody else out there to know this needs to be stopped," said DeeDee.
Xian said she's been working closely with Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland. They're also considering a "Save Harbor" bill to keep prostituted children out of jail.
But maybe more importantly, Chun-Okland is working on providing a new facility, an assessment center, where victims can get quality help.
PROTECTED INNOCENCE CHALLENGE STUDY
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