Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Reintroduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Clear Human Trafficking Victims’ Criminal Records

Bill Would Provide Post-Conviction Relief to Victims of Sex Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, and Other Forms of Human Trafficking

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rob Portman (R-OH), and U.S. Representatives Ann Wagner (MO-02) and Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) in reintroducing the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act today. The bipartisan legislation would create a process for victims of human trafficking to request relief from non-violent federal crimes committed as a direct result of human trafficking.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks with survivor leaders and advocates on the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act

Today, January 11, is recognized as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery affecting millions in the United States and abroad. This crime involves either the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit a person for labor or commercial sex, or the exploitation of a minor for commercial sex. As a result of being trafficked, victims are commonly charged with crimes such as conspiracy, money laundering, drug trafficking, and related offenses that then follow them throughout the duration of their lives. These charges make it difficult for human trafficking victims to find jobs and housing, leaving them vulnerable to being exploited and trafficked again.

“Tens of thousands of men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking each year. Too often, they are charged as criminals, thrown in prison, and shackled with a criminal record the rest of their lives instead of being free to get the care and assistance they need. The Trafficking Survivors Relief Act will empower human trafficking victims to escape the chains of their past and move forward with their lives,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

“Because of the complexities of the criminal activity around trafficking, victims are put into situations where they may be forced to engage in other criminal acts due to their abuser. Even though they are victims of human trafficking, under current mandates, their “criminal history” can make it very difficult for them to recover and reintegrate back into society. The Trafficking Survivors Relief Act is an important key to opening the door of freedom, helping to erase the past, and empower life recovery and forward movement for the most marginalized and vulnerable population in our communities,” said Jessica Munoz, President and Founder of Hoʻōla Nā Pua.

“As an organization committed to implementing strategies and providing services that help rebuild the lives of human trafficking survivors, we believe the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act will support these uprooted individuals to reclaim dignified lives,” said Dr. Tin Myaing Thein, Executive Director of the Pacific Gateway Center.

Background:

The Trafficking Survivors Relief Act would allow survivors of human trafficking to provide supporting documentation in order to get their non-violent criminal records vacated. These documents can include the following:

  • Certified criminal or immigration court proceedings or law enforcement records demonstrating that the individual was a victim of trafficking at the time they were charged with the trafficking-related offense(s);
  • Testimony or sworn statement from a trained professional staff member of a victim services organization, an attorney, member of the clergy, a health care professional, a therapist, or other professional from whom the person has sought assistance in addressing the trauma associated with being a victim of trafficking; or
  • An affidavit or sworn testimony of the movant indicating that they were a victim of human trafficking at the time of their arrest and that they engaged in or were otherwise accused of engaging in criminal activities as a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking.

Voodoo and Human Trafficking in Puna? – “… But the Last Night On The Island I Fought For My Life…”

Ok, the other day I got a very strange email and I think I got sucked into something very mysterious.  I will be posting each of these emails in the order that  I received them.  I hope I didn’t miss anything.

Voodoo

It all started out when I received this public comment on my website under the “Missing” tab:

My name is Kate. I am not 100% sure what happened to me, but the last night on the island I fought for my life. i think I almost got sucked into being taken without it being connected to these folks I got to know. I think they work in human trafficking. But I am not sure, but I think so. I think they have a guy on the island who they call in when they “have one” (a person who they might be able to take without much trouble) and then he uses voodoo to slowly capture them in a way that it goes unnoticed. I think the ring extends to CA and down into Mexico. I think they are very well funded and organized. I am scared to make accusations for a few reasons. But I also want to talk about it all. The first day I went around the island with the guy- Ms. Royal died that day and I was fed a Pig who was slaughtered that day and who there was a picture of. It WAS THE ODDEST DINNER I HAVE EVER BEEN TO.

I then received the following comment on my site but quickly deleted thinking it was a repeat of the above comment… but now realize it was a different comment:

My name is Kate Ellen Nicholson. I experienced intense trauma on the Big Island in Hawaii. The police were involved but were not helpful, more so they inflicted more trauma. I wanted them called both times, as I was fearing for my life, and I never have before. I am 30 years old. I maintain that the island has a major issue with NOT recording by the police. All across the Unites States cop cars must record the situation via voice and video. On your island, there is none of that. I find it highly odd and problematic.
The island is like all of the world, it is controlled by a few, who are connected to a bloodline. I am a geographer who went to the George Washington University, I work with demographics. The situation in Hawaii is analogous to the apartheid when it comes to the ethnic stats- when it comes to the minority ethnicity ruling. I have a story to tell and am not ready to tell it. Damon Tucker is harassing me and being extremely rude as he wants to get himself all involved and wants the story. He has treated me with intense disrespect, threatening to post my IP address, when I have already stated I have PTSD and do not feel safe. He is threatening and harassing. And he swore at me. Please find it in your hearts to send me positive vibrations and to be kind and understanding. Thank you for your time and understanding. May peace and joy be in your hearts.
Sincerely,
Kate

I didn’t really think of anything… and just allowed the first comment on my site… then I got bombarded with the following emails to my personal email address:

Hi. My name is Kate. I am 30 and from vt. I was on Big Island for month and a half. I think I escaped a human trafficking capture but it was very very complicated and I barely escaped and I think it gets into this: they have a guy on the island with REALLY STRONG vooodoo powers. control thoughts, actions, words and electronics. I think they are very careful.

just wanted to reach out.

-k

My reply to her initial email:

Did you report this to the police?

Damon Tucker

Here is reply after I sent her this question:

I got the police involved yes. I am not even 100% positive that is what they were trying to do. They drugged me I think….it was a week long spiral into confusion.  I am sorry I can’t elaborate right now. It’s too emotional for me.
Do you ever catch wind of voodoo cults on the island, down near the lava flow>? By voodoo I do mean magic and voodoo. I never believed in it, but I do now. They messed with me so much I don’t even know what happened. I don’t know if he was a good spiritual guide or he was going to take me. I decided on the last night that the situation was that they had their ducks in a row to take me and not get blamed so I pre-emptively fought him and got dna on me and ate necklaces around our necks (he gave me mine) and got those beads in my stomach. I will say, from an intuitive stand point, he changed at that point as thought I had really shifted the situation. He had a lady staying with her. She was very odd and even though he asked for more help holding me down etc she seemed to work with me. The cops were eventually called by her (but a car came in between, i had run into the woods at that point and was leaving hair dna. I NEVER AGREED TO ANY DRUGS. and i think they put something in the tea. she was making it, he said it was the best on the island. then she said o I forgot to make u a cup. but she had. i took two tiny sips. which might have helped me. he was a very very powerful man with powers i did not believe existed. he fist the description of a pscyho/sociopath PERFECTLY.  I am looking at the face of a girl missing in CA that I am trying to consider was with them when I first saw the, The lady introduced her as her daughter but they didn’t look anything alike and when the Ms. Royal was found there was some wierd conversations about it. He actually said “is that your daughter, did you hear about it, have you heard from her.” i watched her response. it was twilight zone-like. 
i have been following articles from the puna area. one is notable to me: a guy is involved in a house where people are getting raped- or so he says as he leaves the court room. i was in that area and i think they scout for people, capture them and it’s all S&M from there. slave sex trafficking. I think the reason they do it is for the money. I also have a suspicion that the victims are used to grow marijuana in hawaii and n/ CA. 

sorry for the ramble.  thanks for the response. 
one of the few people i am talking about this too.

i know it’s a very odd complicated story.
i went to GWU in DC. I am educated & bright. I acknowledge the story is difficult…I can’t even make sense of it and again, GWU 3.73GPA. Voted most likely to succeed and most organized in HS.  Very clever girl here.  not willing to go through emotional distress of the psychward or police report as I know where others are at mentally. I must make some headway first. Part of that was writing on your page and seeing if anyone responded with something that might help me– even though my ultimate hope would be to be able to help others. 

thanks you for your time.
-Kate

At this point I really didn’t know what I had on my hands so I started CC’ing Tiffany Edwards Hunt some of the email correspondences that we were having and my next reply was:

Send me a police report number.  Which officer did you talk to.  This all sounds very suspicious and very “Rumorish”.

I suggest you take it up w/ Tiffany Edwards Hunt to see if she knows anything about it.

This type of thing really isn’t my type of story.

Sincerely,

Damon Tucker

Her response was the following:
I would never interact with a Hunt. You should learn who the Hunts are.

sorry to add another layer. but i know who the Hunt brothers are and I know their connection to the zionists and pedophilia. I went to GWU and I study the world and have many aquintances from powerful families.

I then started to suspect this lady may need her meds and replied to her the following:
Ok… now your just sounding a bit off!!!
Aloha,

Damon Tucker

Tiffany then interjected the following:
I am definitely not involved in zionism or pedophilia. What is going on here?
And then Tiffany followed up with:
Hi Kate,
 
If you believe you can trust me, I am happy to talk with you and take a drive to try and figure out where you were taken. 
 

Were you given ayahuasca?

Kate then replied to Tiffany:
i don’t trust u and i don’t want to talk to you.
i know the Hunt brother story etc.
i live in the town with Heny G Jarecki;s son
i don’t mingle with people from your bloodline
you scare me.
I then replied to Kate and Tiffany:
Kate… I’m not sure what you are talking about the “Hunt” Brothers… But I will vouch that Tiffany is not involved w/ any Hunt Brothers that you may have come across in the past.

She is an independent reporter here on the island and she is probably the best one to get your story out to.  (If you haven’t seen her website it is http://www.bigislandchronicle.com )

I’m not an investigative journalist the way she is.

Trust Tiffany to give you your side of the story w/out any corporate or police influence.

I’m out of this story… I only blog as a hobby.  Some folks like to play games online for a hobby… I like to be a newshound.

Wish you the best Kate,

Sincerely,

Damon Tucker

I then received the following from Kate:

This is called harassment and I will take you to court. Leave me alone. And I did not give you permission to post anything. LEAVE ME ALONE.

I then reply:

I wish you would trust Tiffany to tell your story.

I will now be posting what you have sent to me on my website to see if anything comes up from folks that know what is up.

I will also be using your name as a the person that sent this to me.

I gave you the option to tell your story to Tiffany…

I will now be piecing together the things you sent to me and will publish it as a commentary I received via e-mail.

You have until tomorrow morning to respond to this.

Please understand that I think you are mistaking Hunt family for someone not even related to her…. for that matter do you know how many “Tucker’s” there are on the Big Island alone that I get associated with.

I will be posting your name and IP address to the email you sent me if you do not follow up on this email I’m sending you now.

Those that know me… know I don’t put up w/ shit or rumors.

Sincerely,

Damon Tucker

She then responded:
If you post my IP address that puts me in danger and you will be held accountable in COURT. That is absolutely what the laws are about. You cannot post my personal information. This is WHY I don’t talk to people. You are rude and you are attacking me, dont you see that? I was willing to talk to you. You lost my trust entirely by contacting Ms. Hunt. I maintain and I will continue to maintain I do not TRUST THE HUNT FAMILY nor their associates. I went to the GWU and I am not stupid.

Good luck figuring out what’s going on around you.
And consider being nicer.

Kate Ellen Nicholson

I then told her:

Shut up already…. your digging yourself in a hole.

She then sends me the following:

You are mean.

I hope you gain a sense of accomplishment.

Good luck trying to make the world a better place. You’re not headed in the right direction.

I want something posted with what you are posting::

My name is Kate Ellen Nicholson. I experienced intense trauma on the Big Island in Hawaii. The police were involved but were not helpful, more so they inflicted more trauma. I wanted them called both times, as I was fearing for my life, and I never have before. I am 30 years old. I maintain that the island has a major issue with NOT recording by the police. All across the Unites States cop cars must record the situation via voice and video. On your island, there is none of that. I find it highly odd and problematic.
The island is like all of the world, it is controlled by a few, who are connected to a bloodline. I am a geographer who went to the George Washington University, I work with demographics. The situation in Hawaii is analogous to the apartheid when it comes to the ethnic stats- when it comes to the minority ethnicity ruling. I have a story to tell and am not ready to tell it. Damon Tucker is harassing me and being extremely rude as he wants to get himself all involved and wants the story. He has treated me with intense disrespect, threatening to post my IP address, when I have already stated I have PTSD and do not feel safe. He is threatening and harassing. And he swore at me. Please find it in your hearts to send me positive vibrations and to be kind and understanding. Thank you for your time and understanding. May peace and joy be in your hearts.
Sincerely,
Kate

Then the last message I sent to her:
LADY…. YOU ARE A TRIP!

DT

She then replied:

I need to let you know that I am altering my email so as to not receive anymore emails from you email. Should you send me an email from another account, that is harassment I do believe. I am perfectly comfortable using the website you set up as a forum. We can discuss this on there in front of everyone. I will not be put in a corner by you or Ms. Hunt, you are threatening and rude. You can express yourself on your website in front of others rather than in personal direct communication with me.  
Thank you for putting time and effort into caring for missing people Damon. 
I think what you are doing is very important. 
Keep up the good work in that regards.

Kate

Tiffany then politely rounded out our conversation with the following:

Kate,
 
I find it interesting you judged me based on my last name alone, and treated me with contempt, based on my last name, yet you are making a public plea for positive vibrations. You are a mirror, and you projected a good deal of animosity, just in my brief interaction with you. Maybe you have come to the Big Island to delve a little bit deeper into some self reflection beyond your degree and “expertise.”

Enveloping you with white light,

Tiffany Edwards Hunt

 

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bills Expanding Protections, Support for Women and Keiki

Measure extends voluntary foster care age to 21

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today enacted legislation that strengthens laws protecting the rights of women and children throughout Hawaii.

“I commend the Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus, Commission on the Status of Women, and women’s advocates for their dedicated efforts in support of these measures, which address a wide variety of issues ranging from protections for domestic workers, to human trafficking, to recognition of the societal and health benefits of breastfeeding,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Many of these bills, now enacted as law, are the result of members of the community getting involved in the legislative process to protect the rights and safety of women and children.”

The Governor also signed bills that extend the voluntary foster care age to 21 as well as keep keiki safe from a parent who has been convicted of a sexual assault.

“SB529 not only shields the child from a convicted sex offender, it also protects the survivor from being further victimized,” the Governor said. “Through SB1340, which extends the voluntary foster care age to 21, we are sending a message to former foster youth that we will continue to support their transition to adulthood, independence and self-sufficiency. Doing so lays the foundation for long-term positive outcomes for youth when they leave foster care. It will also result in substantial cost savings in future government services.”

The Governor signed the following bills today:

SB535 (Relating to Labor) makes Hawaii the second state – after New York – to place basic labor protections for domestic workers into law. It also establishes basic rights and protections for domestic workers, entitles workers to overtime pay and time for meal and rest breaks, and provides basic civil rights protections against abuse and harassment.

HB1187 (Relating to Human Trafficking) designates January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month and adds minor victims of sex and labor trafficking to the scope of the Child Protective Act and other state child abuse laws.

HB1068 (Relating to Human Trafficking) requires certain employers to display a poster that provides information relating to human trafficking and contact information for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline.

SB192 (Relating to Prostitution) makes solicitation of a minor a crime and increases the statute of limitations to bring a cause of action for coercion into prostitution from 2 to 6 years. It also clarifies the minimum and maximum fine for a person convicted of committing the offense of prostitution; adds the offenses of solicitation of a minor for prostitution, habitual solicitation of prostitution, and solicitation of prostitution near schools and public parks under the state’s forfeiture laws; amends the definition of “sexual offense” under the sexual offender registry laws to include acts that consist of the solicitation of a minor who is less than 18 years of age for prostitution; and requires registration with the sexual offender registry for conviction of solicitation of a minor for prostitution as a Tier 1 offense.

HB587 (Relating to the Penal Code) amends the penal code to include that it shall be unlawful to physically abuse persons in a “dating relationship.” It also requires a police officer to separate a perpetrator and family or household member who has been physically abused for 48 hours.

SB655 (Relating to Health) allows health professionals to treat partners of patients diagnosed as having certain sexually transmitted diseases by dispensing or prescribing medication to the partners without examining them. The measure also ensures that expedited partner therapy is in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and recommendations, and it provides limited liability protection.

SB532 (Relating to Breastfeeding in the Workplace) requires certain employers to provide reasonable time and private location for breastfeeding employees to express breast milk. The measure also requires covered employers to post a notice, and it establishes a civil fine for each violation.

SB1340 (Relating to Foster Care) extends voluntary foster care to age 21.

SB529 (Relating to Parental Rights) requires family courts to deny custody or visitation, and allows courts to terminate parental rights, to a person convicted of a sexual assault with respect to the child conceived through that assault.

 

Activists Join Representative Karen Awana and John Mizuno to Combat Human Trafficking

Dozens of activists met directly with Hawaii’s state legislators today to build support for six new state bills that would help identify, protect, and offer assistance to victims of human trafficking. At a press conference highlighting the day’s events, several legislators, including Representative Karen Awana and Representative John Mizuno expressed their support for aggressive efforts to support victims of human trafficking and prosecute traffickers. Polaris Project, Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery and the International Justice Mission organized the day’s events.

“Human trafficking takes place throughout the world and affects millions,” said Representative Karen Awana. “Unfortunately, our island state has also fallen prey to such atrocities.  Bills that have been introduced this session take an aggressive approach at addressing slavery – the worst form of treatment inflicted upon another human being.”

The new bills that are currently pending in the legislature would make it easier for survivors of sex trafficking to rebuild their lives and protect trafficking victims from convictions for crimes they committed as a result of being trafficked. The bills also improve coordination of services for trafficking survivors, increase training and awareness activities in local schools, and require posting of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline in critical locations like airports and clinics in order to reach victims and raise awareness.

“I have seen first-hand how laws like these make a real difference for the lives of women and children who have been brutally exploited for the profit of others,” said James Dold, Policy Counsel for Polaris Project. “If all of these bills pass, Hawaii would have one of the strongest anti-human trafficking frameworks in the United States.”

Last August, Polaris Project gave Hawaii only four points out of a possible ten in its annual State Ratings Map. The map tracks the presence or absence of 10 categories of laws on the books that are critical to a comprehensive anti-trafficking legal framework.

Because of the hidden nature of human trafficking, few statistics are available on the numbers of trafficking victims in Hawaii or the entire United States. One study has estimated that some 300,000 youth are at-risk of becoming victims of trafficking nationwide. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, which helps connect trafficking victims to services, has taken 164 calls related to human trafficking in Hawaii since December 2007.

“We have a responsibility to come together as a community to support trafficking victims and fight this crime and human rights abuse,” said Kathryn Xian, Executive Director of the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery. “People think that human trafficking only happens in other countries, but it’s also happening here on our islands. Today, we are taking a stand and saying that we can and should do more to fight modern slavery.”

To report a tip, connect with anti-trafficking services in your area, or request information, call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center, operated by Polaris Project, at: 1-888-373-7888. Or go to www.polarisproject.org.

Poinography Digs Up Some Interesting Stuff On Aloun Farms

Doug over at Poinography has been busy for the last year trying to get records from Linda Lingles administration.

I just noticed the following in regards to Aloun Farms in his blog posting “Public Comments for Act 170 thru 178 are cataloged and uploaded“.

…Like last time, this batch also has one especially intriguing item:  check out this record, a letter from Alec Sou of Aloun Farms regarding a bill to extend enterprise zone tax incentives that were about to expire. In the letter Mr. Sou, now awaiting a federal trial on charges of grossly exploiting foreign farm workers, writes, “We have been a company of over 150 full time employees for over a decade. We have recently hired additional employees expanding to roughly 170 due to the availability of the work-pool….

So with due respect to Doug’s research… go check out some of the files that he is cataloging for the public to view!  I appreciate his efforts and he appears to be setting precedence with the Office of Information Practices (OIP) for all of us.