Democratic Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed the legislation, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate, that rids victims of sex trafficking — even those who cannot prove they were trafficked — from prostitution convictions, so as long as they are not convicted of other crimes for three years, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
“When I first decided that I wanted my platform to be on sex trafficking, my pageant director told me that I shouldn’t do it because it’s too dark. “The reality is we think of trafficking as an ‘over there’ issue. It’s something that could never happen here in the state of Hawaii … but it does.”
Michael Phillip Patrakis, 46, of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, was sentenced Thursday to 292 months in prison for producing child pornography of two minor females. The case is the result of a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Hawaii Police Department.
An old, abandoned building on Oahu will soon be transformed into a safe haven for sex-trafficking victims.