Hawaii Legislation Links Sex Tourism and Trafficking
Tuesday, June 29, 2004 4:20 PM

New legislation to combat sex tourism was signed into law in Hawaii on May 19, 2004.  HB 2020, an Act relating to prostitution, “makes it a felony offense, with a sentence of up to five years in prison, to sell or offer to sell travel services for the purpose of engaging in prostitution and authorizes suspension or revocation of a travel agency registration for engaging in these acts.”  (cited from Equality Now Women’s Action 24.2 Update, May 2004)  With this new law, Hawaii becomes the first state in the United States to specifically criminalize the activities of sex tour operators. 


The new law also references the connection between sex tourism and trafficking, and underlines Hawaii’s determined opposition to any form of sex tourism:

Prostitution and related activities, which are inherently harmful and dehumanizing, contribute to the trafficking in persons, as does sex tourism. The low status of women in many parts of the world has led to a burgeoning of the trafficking industry. Discouraging sex tourism, which is an estimated $1,000,000,000-per-year business worldwide, is key to reducing the demand for sex trafficking . . . The purpose of this Act is to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls exploited by sex tourists . . . In so doing, the legislature forcefully declares Hawaii's unequivocal opposition to any form of sex tourism, whether it is child sex tourism or sex tourism involving adults.

Equality Now, which has an ongoing campaign against the sex tourism industry, actively supported the Hawaiian legislation, and hopes other states will follow suit with similarly effective laws.


Compiled from Equality Now Women’s Action 24.2 Update, May 2004, full text available here.