Sex trafficking experiences of help-seeking individuals in Hawaiʻi

Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Khara Jabola-Carolus

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Sex trafficking in the United States has emerged as a critical social issue that negatively impacts the health and mental health of victims. The existence of sex trafficking in Hawaiʻi has been questioned due to a lack of empirical evidence and lack of successful prosecutions of sex traffickers. The purpose of this study is to determine the rate of sex trafficking and the sex trafficking experiences among clients of a large social service agency serving five islands in Hawaiʻi. The 363 participants completed a paper and pencil survey over a three month period in 2019. The survey included questions about the participants’ experiences including sex trafficking and the Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey (ACES). Sex trafficking victimization experiences were reported by 97 (26.7%) of the participants. Of the sex trafficking victims, 23 (23.7%) reported that they were under age 18 when they were first sex trafficked. The sex trafficking victims identified as 83% female, 23% male, 1% transgender, and 1% non-conforming. Sixty-four percent of the sex trafficking victims identified as being all or some Native Hawaiian. Implications and policy recommendations from these findings were identified and discussed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
    StateAccepted/In press - 2021


    • ACES and sex trafficking
    • Sex trafficking Hawaii
    • human trafficking

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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