Troubling report shines spotlight on missing, murdered Native Hawaiian women

The report found Native Hawaiian girls represent a disproportionate number of missing and exploited children.
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 5:31 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2022 at 10:50 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A year-long investigation is shining new light on the disproportionate number of Native Hawaiian women and girls who are exploited, go missing and are murdered.

The Missing and Murdered Native Hawaiian Women and Girls Task Force issued their report Wednesday.

It shows Native Hawaiian girls represent a disproportionate of missing children in Hawaii and that women and girls subjected to sex trafficking, sex abuse, and domestic violence are at risk of going missing or being murdered.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, lawmakers and community advocates gathered at the State Capitol to talk about the startling findings.

One advocate had a red hand print over her mouth.

“I ask us all to start with our ohana to have these conversations not be afraid to speak of it because silence continues to shame,” said Dr. Dayna Schultz, a Native Hawaiian community advocate.

The report says more than one quarter of missing girls in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian.

The state also has the eighth highest rate of missing persons in the United States.

The average profile of a missing child is 15 years old, female, Native Hawaiian. and from Oahu.

“It vindicates and validates what Native Hawaiian, sex trafficking and gender based violence service providers and feminist activists have been saying all along and simply told they were exaggerating or manipulating facts,” said Khara Jabola-Carolus, executive director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women.

The report also found 38% of men arrested for trying to have a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old online have been active duty military.

“Online predation that involves military men seeking sexual encounters to put it very politely, it’s rape with 13 year olds appears to be prevalent within the Air Force, Army, and Navy,” said Jabola-Carolus.

“It has been documented across bases like Schofield, Hickam, Pearl Harbor and Ford Island,” she added.

The report offered lessons learned and says the data can can used for policymaking and implementing change. Advocates say there needs to be representation on the task force by the military and tourism sectors.