(BIVN) – The Zonta Club of Hilo hosted a panel discussion on December 10 at the County Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo entitled “Not for Sale: A Human Trafficking Awareness Event”.
The panel discussion included Khara Jabola-Carolus from the Hawaiʻi State Commission on the Status of Women, Suzanna Tiapula from the Hawaiʻi County Prosecutor’s Office, Officer James Steffen from the Hawaiʻi County Police Department, Jeanné Kapela of UNITE Hawaiʻi, and certified prevention specialist Zahava Zaidoff.
The “Not for Sale” discussion was free and open to the public, and part of an effort to bring local awareness to Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women — an international campaign launched in 2012 that aims to “inspire action and end violence against women and girls around the world through 16 Days of Activism,” which kicked off on Nov. 25 (International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women) and ended on Dec. 10 (Human Rights Day).
“Sex and labor trafficking on Hawai`i Island and across the state is a growing issue,” said Gabriella Cabanas, Zonta Hilo’s advocacy chair, in a media releas prior to the event. “We want to raise the community’s awareness around this issue and look for ways to make our island safer.”
The discussion follows the release of a new study, Sex Trafficking in Hawaiʻi, which was co-authored by panel participant Jabola-Carolus. “The State Commission is excited to join the Hawai`i Island community to discuss a groundbreaking study on the prevalence of online sex buying on the island and our efforts to prevent sex trafficking,” Jabola-Carolus said before the event.