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Globalization Research Center receives three-year grant to establish a Hawaii anti-trafficking task force

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Nancie Caraway, (808) 956-9385
Globalizatioin Research Center
Posted: Oct 18, 2005

HONOLULU — The Globalization Research Center (GRC) at UH Mānoa was subcontracted a three-year grant to establish a multidisciplinary human trafficking task force for the state. The grant was awarded to the State Department of the Attorney General from the United States Department of Justice.

The purpose of the grant is to support the development of a task force to enhance state and local law enforcement efforts to identify and interdict severe forms of human trafficking, and to enhance collaboration among state and local law enforcement, social service organizations, and federal agencies in the identification of trafficking victims.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act provides for the prosecution of trafficking at the federal level, but often, state and local law enforcement personnel and service providers are the first to encounter trafficking victims.

"As the United States‘s gateway to the Asia/Pacific region, Hawaiʻi is well situated to work to stem the increasing worldwide traffic in human beings," said Attorney General Mark Bennett. "We are pleased that the Department of Justice has selected Hawaiʻi for this program, and look forward to working with our task force partners."

Dr. Nancie Caraway, GRC‘s director of women‘s human rights projects, serves as the task force project director. Caraway emphasizes the important task of educating local organizations and the public about this violation of human rights. "We are encouraging our local communities to look beneath the surface and to ask questions about individuals who seem to be in harm‘s way. Trafficking victims are among the most vulnerable people in society, often invisible immigrants who don‘t speak English, whose documents are held, and who are forced to work in unsafe conditions."

Hawaiʻi Anti-Trafficking Task Force members include the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, Catholic Charities Hawaiʻi, Department of the Attorney General, Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline, UH Mānoa Globalization Research Center, Hawaiʻi State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Honolulu Police Department, Na Loio Immigrant Legal Services, Pacific Gateway Center, and Sisters Offering Support. The task force will focus on training, protocols, data collection, and raising public awareness of human trafficking.

The Department of the Attorney General has also subgranted funds to the Honolulu Police Department to train officers in identifying and responding to human trafficking. The Task Force hopes to expand its partnership coalition to include neighbor island police departments, service providers, and other agencies in the future.