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Hundreds marched at the State Capitol to end human trafficking in Hawaii

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HONOLULU -

The entire month of January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  

On Thursday afternoon, the community came together to bring awareness to modern day slavery at the State Capitol.

Organizations set up booths to try and raise awareness for the issue. They want the public to take a stand against human trafficking in Hawaii.

"It can happen to anybody, it crosses all boundaries, it doesn't matter what the color of your skin is, what your race is your ethnicity, how much money you make, it doesn't matter what school you go to, this is an issue that affects everybody," Dianne Bowen-Coleman, Ho'ola Na Pua said. 

It's difficult to track the amount of people affected by sex trafficking in Hawaii but event organizers from Ho'ola Na Pua say they know it happens to a significant amount of people because they're one of the groups who help those victims.

"It does take place here in Hawaii, it does take place in our own backyards, you may actually even know people who have been affected on some level, and we are here today to bring light to the darkness to educate the community, to get people involved, to make people understand that no we are not going to take this, not on our islands, not anywhere," Bowen-Coleman said. 

Those involved with the issue tell Island News, sometimes, women can fall victim to the industry after being kidnapped but other times it's as simple as a girl falling for the wrong guy.

"It's very common some good looking, little bit older young man, comes up to a girl in the mall and says you're so beautiful, you should be a model," Linda Rich, Consultant, Ho'ola Na Pua said. 

Participants this year doubled from last year. 

The group is happy to be at the march as it's at the capitol, where they hope to catch the eyes and ears of lawmakers. 

Ho’ola Na Pua also hosted a trafficking event on the Big Island Thursday.