The Senate has unanimously passed legislation that supports Native Hawaiian survivors of gender-based violence.
The bill, which was introduced by Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), allows survivors to access resources provided by Congress through the Violence Against Women Act.
The act, which was signed into law in March, was reauthorized to provide funding to survivors of sexual assault, sex-trafficking, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. It includes Services, Training, Officers Prosecutors (STOP) grants for eligible native-serving non-profits to help prevent sexual violence and support survivors.
"Today [Nov. 18], I'm proud that the Senate unanimously passed my legislation to amend VAWA [Violence Against Women Act] to ensure that Native Hawaiian organizations can actually serve the Native Hawaiian community," Hirono said in a statement. "This bill will allow Native Hawaiian survivors to get the support they deserve, and will enable Native Hawaiian organizations to do even more in the fight to end sexual violence."
More than two-thirds of sex trafficking victims in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian women and girls, according to reports. Of the child sex trafficking cases reported in the state, 37 percent are Native Hawaiian.
Moving forward, Hirono said she plans to work with the FBI and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls task force to do more in protecting the Native Hawaiian community from sexual exploitation.
Featured Image via Mazie Hirono
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