Episode 2: Do you have a Justice Gene? Listen in to our conversation with Jessica Munoz, founder of Hoolanapua
Imagine, you are a parent of a sixth-grade girl attending a private school. As adolescence hits, your familial fights seem to escalate. Your little girl is growing up way too fast, and it is hard to keep up in her world. She tends to spend more time in her room and seems to be increasing her distance from you. You see it as a phase and go with a “this too shall pass” attitude. Your last fight was about the overage in her screen time, she seems to be on her phone an awful lot. She marches to her room and slams the door; this is becoming the norm in your house. The next morning you find her room empty, window open, she’s gone. Gone. You call the police, and the search for your daughter begins.
Stats show that 1.6-2.8 million kids run-away from home each year according to National Runaway Safeline, especially during the turbulent adolescent years. These run-aways come from all racial, social, and economic backgrounds. The commonality that these runaways have is that there is tension and unhappiness in their life, and they run away, thinking that whatever is outside the home is the solution to their problems. Most kids are approached with a “solution” within 24-48 hours of running away. And that solution is the beginning to sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking is a very real deal, and is happening all over the world, and I promise you, even in your community wherever you may live. Personally, we live in what is considered paradise, the Big Island of Hawaii, yet it’s happening here every day. I (Kelsey) became aware of this horrific issue through the educational efforts of Hoolanapua. (I’m sure many of you, like me, are stuck at the pronunciation of this extremely long Hawaiian word, so here’s the breakdown *ho-oh-la-nuh-pooh-ah*). This incredible organization is leading the way in educational efforts to combat the issues of trafficking in Hawaii. They also are helping victims thru mentorships and are currently in the process of building a 30-bedroom all-inclusive therapeutic facility that will house minors who have come out of the emotionally abusive and traumatic experience of being victims of trafficking.
What does sex trafficking look like? Well it is forcing, co-ercing, and/ or frauding an individual, boy or girl under the age of 18, to perform sexual acts for money, housing, food, safety of friend and family and/or basic necessities. I (Kelsey) first heard about sex trafficking in when I was a youth pastor in Hilo. Since I was working with kids there, we were kept apprised on what was happening locally. Girls who were attending public schools were being wooed by boys their same age attending the same school, who were actually staged pimps (the person who arranges the sale and exploitation of the girl). These boys would become these girls’ boyfriends and promise them the world. After a few months, the boy would request the girl to perform a sex act for a “friend” as a “loving” and committed gesture, in which he would use the money to further “take care of her”. These “boyfriends” would also encourage the girl to use drugs, and once addicted, the girl would need to fund the now drug addiction by performing sex acts or the action of sex itself. Now, after living in Hawaii for ten years, I’ve heard of parents pimping out their kids to pay for a drug and/or alcohol addiction. One sick story really stuck with me: A man sold a two-year-old family member for an hour of abuse to help pay his bills!
Horrible, horrible atrocities are occurring all over the world and your neighborhood, and we must collectively rise up and take action to stop it.
Jessica Munoz, founder of Hoolanpua is doing just that. Listen in to The Talking Story Podcast (Episode 3), where she shares her humble beginnings, the organization’s current endeavors and her (reachable) goals for the future. If you want to know more about sex trafficking, have a passion to do something about it, and maybe have a dream to start an organization or build a product to help combat the issue, this is the podcast for you. And if you’re thinking this is an awful subject to do a podcast about, you’re right. But you’ll quickly see the hope as Jessica shares practical tools of what we can individually do to help be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Be sure to check out www.hoolanapua.org to learn more about Pearl Haven, the 30 bedroom all-inclusive therapeutic facility on the North Shore of Oahu.
To learn more about what sex trafficking is visit: https://bit.ly/3akG2ZR
Are you concerned that you know someone who may be a victim of sex trafficking- mind you- they don’t have to be run-a-ways. Victims can still be sexually exploited by day, and living at home by night, call 1-800
Maybe you work with the public: airport, flight attendant, mall, police and you think you have encountered a victim 1-888-373-7888
We also want to hear from you. Reach out to us @thetalkingstorypodcast with questions, comments, and concerns.
And we want to thank our sponsor, MOIMOI MARKET, a one stop shop to purchase products of purpose www.moimoimarket.com. They offer several products that help combat the problem of sex trafficking. You can make a difference just by how your spend your dollar. @moimoimarket