Nonprofit joins Hawaii Five-0 to bring awareness to sex trafficking

Published: Mar. 11, 2017 at 3:06 AM HST|Updated: Mar. 12, 2017 at 8:21 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A local nonprofit teamed up with CBS show Hawaii Five-0 to bring the issue of sex trafficking in Hawaii into the national spotlight.

Ho'ola Na Pua founder Jessica Munoz said her team first approached the show's producers in 2016 in hopes of creating public service announcements highlighting the crisis in paradise.

The CBS team agreed to the PSA's and decided to take it a step further by dedicating a whole episode to the topic.

Season 7, episode 19 was titled "Puka 'ana" -- which CBS describes as Hawaiian for "exodus" — and aired Friday night.

Actress Grace Park's character, Kono, investigates a sex trafficking ring and makes it her mission to take down the pimp.

Dramatic scenes reveal a Waimanalo house full of victims afraid and abused and the pimp is eventually caught and arrested.

The show attracts around 10 million viewers each week, according to Five-0 producers.

"It's amazing for the entire country to see sex trafficking does happen in Hawaii and it's not just limited to here," said Munoz. "Everybody plays a part in combating this issue. It's not one agency, it's not one organization or one entity of law enforcement, it's everyone working together."

"I actually prefer these kinds of episodes because it brings meaning to what we do as opposed to making TV for the sake of making TV," said Bryan Spicer, Hawaii Five-0's executive producer.

Ho'ola Na Pua is nonprofit dedicated to the renewal of underaged sex trafficked girls through health, education, advocacy and reintegration.

Scenes shot at Dillingham Ranch portray the organization's envisioned Pearl Haven residential treatment campus, which the nonprofit is currently raising funds for with hopes of opening sometime in 2018.

On Friday, a private screening of the episode was held at The Modern Hotel in Waikiki.

"It was incredibly moving," said guest Tiffany Hatchett. "Seeing it played out, brings it to life and makes it real."

Following the screening was a Q&A panel featuring Hawaii Five-0 producers, writer and actors and local community leaders working to help end human trafficking.

Actress Grace Park said filming the episode greatly impacted her.

"This kind of thing sat with me for days and weeks and it will sit with me for months and years," Park said. "This is a very important topic to me."

To learn more about Ho'ola Na Pua and view the PSA's, click here.

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