Status of Women and Girls

Far too many women and girls in Hawai‘i are not doing well, and most people are not aware of the problems they face.

Facts About Women

  • 1 in 10 women attending the University of Hawaii was sexually abused during their college years. (5)
  • One in every seven women in Hawai`i has been forcibly raped at some point in her lifetime. (4)
  • In September 2006, the only organization in Hawai`i aimed at helping prostitutes escape sexual exploitation closed due to lack of funding. (6)
  • Almost half of all single women with children in Hawai`i live in poverty. (10)
  • Single mothers cannot support their children on minimum wage jobs. The self sufficiency wage on Oahu for a single mother with two school age children is $25.64 an hour – but minimum wage only pays $7.25 per hour. (9)
  • Per capita, Hawai`i has the highest population of ice users in the nation. Crystal methamphetamine (ice) is the drug of choice in Hawaii and is considered by far the most significant drug threat. (1)
  • Although women need help with their addictions, there is only one residential treatment program for women that accepts children (one child age 3 and under per woman). So most women must give up their children in order to get help for their addiction. (2)

Facts About Girls

  • Because Hawai`i is a tourist mecca, international hub, and military headquarters, girls are being lured into prostitution. The average age of entry into prostitution in Honolulu is 14 years old, but can be as young as 9 years of age. (7)
  • A study done in the year 2000 found that Honolulu was a hub for sexually exploited children trafficked in from countries such as Australia, Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Laos, China, the Phillipines, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Canada, Mexico, and from within the United States. (8)
  • Girls in Hawai`i face unique challenges related to our tourist economy, which creates many “grey” and even legitimate sectors where young women are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. (3)
  • Girls are arrested at a higher rate in Hawai`i than anywhere else in the United States. They account for nearly 42% of overall juvenile arrests compared to 29% overall nationally. (3)
  • Whereas boys’ arrests have decreased since 1992, girls’ arrests have increased by more than 18 percent. (3)
  • In Hawai`i, girls comprise nearly 60% of runaway offenses (3)


(1) DEA Briefs and Background, Drugs and Drug Abuse, State Factsheets, Hawaii. June 2006

(2) Multiple phone calls to multiple Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Hawaii and per phone conversation with Admission and Assessment Coordinator for the Salvation Army Family Treatment Services – Women’s Way, 2/12/07.

(3) “Gender, Ethnicity and Delinquency in Hawaii” – Report No. 419, January 2005.

(4) “One in Seven – Rape in Hawaii: A Report to the State”, Dean G. Kilpatrick and Kenneth J. Ruggiero – National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center, May 15, 2003.

(5) “UH survey finds abuse everywhere”, Jaymes Song, Associated Press reporter – Honolulu Star Bulletin, Vol. 12, Issue 252 – September 9, 2007

(6) “Sisters Offering Support closing”, Mary Vorsino – Honolulu Advertiser, September 23, 2006

(7) Lorraine Faithful, prior director of Sisters Offering Support, 2004.

(8) “The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U. S., Canada and Mexico”, Richard J. Estes and Neil Alan Weiner – University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, Center for the Study of Youth Policy. September 18, 2001.

(9) Economic Well Being in Hawai’i: Family and Individual Self Sufficiency, 2007. State of Hawai`i, Aloha United Way, 2007.

(10) 2006 KidsCount Data Book-Hawai’i, Community Level Information on Kids – profile for Hawai`i State, Annie E. Casey Foundation.