Child prostitution in Wahiawa – driven by military demand?

Wednesday, June 20, 2001

3 teens caught in prostitution sting

The youngest arrested is a 13-year-old girl from Wahiawa

By Nelson Daranciang

Donovan Dela Cruz was shocked to learn that three teenagers were arrested this weekend for prostitution in Wahiawa.

“What is this world coming to? That’s disgusting,” said Dela Cruz, chairman of the Wahiawa Neighborhood Board.

Police on Saturday arrested a 15-year-old Wahiawa boy, a 14-year-old Waianae girl and a 13-year-old Wahiawa girl at Lakeview Circle just off Wilikina Drive.

Police released the teenagers into the custody of their parents.

“There’s a reason there are underage girls prostituting themselves in Wahiawa,” said Kelly Hill. “There’s a demand for child sex.”

Hill is executive director of Sisters Offering Support, a private, nonprofit organization that provides prostitution prevention and intervention programs through education and awareness.

She says a big factor in the demand is the large, established transient male population nearby at Schofield Barracks.

As if to emphasize that point, just after the teenagers were arrested, two military men were arrested in the same spot soliciting an undercover policewoman posing as a prostitute.

The U.S. Defense Department in 1996 announced a program of anti-child prostitution briefings for members of the military.

The briefings are offered to soldiers when they arrive for duty at Schofield Barracks, said Capt. Stacy Bathrick, Army spokeswoman.

But Hill claimed that End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking, a national anti-child prostitution organization, has said the Defense Department has been unable to determine how many servicemen have heard the briefing.

Hill said the national organization found service members who never even heard of the program.

Donovan said he was shocked not just by the age of the teenagers, but also the location of their arrest.

He said most street prostitutes can be found on Olive Avenue, but they have become less visible since the city designated Wahiawa a “prostitution-free zone.”

The designation imposes a mandatory 30-day jail sentence on offenders caught a second time within the zone’s boundaries.

Saturday’s arrests were the result of a sting operation prompted by community complaints, police said.

Hill said she cannot remember the last time juveniles were arrested for street prostitution. But she says thousands of minors are involved in some form of prostitution on Oahu.

“I hope they’re going to be referred to us for help,” said Hill. “I just hope that with this arrest involving minors, people realize we need to be getting the perpetrators.”


One Comment


I can’t believe there’s an article placing the blame first on the military. I’ll admit there are SOME bad people who join the military, but that’s a low percentage, majority of service members are great people, I don’t think this incident should warrant generalizing the blame on military presence in Wahiawa. How about parents? The parents should be the primary blame in this article. As a parent myself, I know if you raise a child right they won’t be working the streets of Wahiawa at thirteen! I don’t see any significant data as the military being the cause of child prostitution. The only data that was cited in this article is 3 minors arrested for prostitution and 2 service members arrested at an unknown amount of time later. Surely there should be more data to make a claim such as this, I know you can get through college with rhetorical writing that holds less, but c’mon, this is the Star Bulletin!

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