Biden signs Native Hawaiian Survivors of Gender-Based Violence Law

President Biden signed into law legislation led by Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) to allow Native Hawaiian survivors of gender-based violence to access critical programs and resources provided by Congress through the Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA). According to the News release, The reauthorization of VAWA-which was signed into law in March, 2022-provides funding to Native Hawaiian survivors of all types of sexual and gender-based violence, including sexual assault, sex trafficking, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Senator Hirono’s legislation amends VAWA to ensure Native Hawaiian organizations can serve the Native Hawaiian community. This bill passed the Senate unanimously last month and passed in the House on a voice vote earlier this month.

According to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, more than two-thirds of sex trafficking victims in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian women and girls, and only 37% of child sex trafficking cases are reported. Recently, the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women released the “Holoi a Nalo Wahine Oiwi” report says “further underlines the disproportionate impacts” that sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence have on Native Hawaiian women and girls.

Senate Hirono has been working against these gender-based sexual crimes. She raised a voice to the legislatures to protect the Native Hawaiian community from sexual exploitation at a full Judiciary Committee hearing and emphasized the need for the FBI to include the Native Hawaiian community. She addresses the missing and murdered indigenous people crisis and violence against Native communities.

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