The Importance of Considering Local Context When Attempting to Address Human Trafficking: A Qualitative Study with Service Providers and Advocates in Hawai‘i

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Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice


Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, Hawai‘i, Immigration, Qualitative Analysis, Public Policy


This study explores how challenges to addressing human trafficking are shaped by the local context in the U.S. State of Hawai‘i. Human trafficking consists of a variety of practices (e.g., sex trafficking and labor trafficking) and potential victims groups (men, women, and children of both international and domestic origin), all of which occur in Hawai‘i. In order to explore the local context of trafficking in Hawai‘i, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with service providers and advocates (N = 13) from three islands (O`ahu = 6; Maui = 3; Hawai`i = 4). Analyses of these interviews found that participants listed a number of challenges that were specific to the context of Hawai‘i. Challenges related to the unique local geography, cultural diversity, and sociocultural context, all of which may shape local practices and discourses related to human trafficking, are discussed.