Hilo, HI

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Hilo is a city on the Island of Hawaii, commonly called the Big Island, in Hawaii County. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the city of Hilo and on other Hawaiian islands. For example, in May 2017, a 42-year-old student at the University of Hawaii-Hilo was caught by police with dozens of images of child sexual abuse materials (i.e., child pornography) on his cellphone. He was charged with several offenses related to the promotion of prostitution and possession of child pornography. There has also been documented violence against women in the local commercial sex industry. In 1991, a man was sentenced to life in prison for the beating and strangulation of a 23-year-old woman in prostitution. The man was eventually released on parole, and in 2016 was charged with attempted second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, and ownership and possession of a prohibited firearm on a highway after his involvement in a shooting in Hilo.

Among the tactics used to combat such problems are those targeting consumer level demand for prostitution and sex trafficking. For example, in November 2021, 10 men and one woman were arrested by police in a prostitution sting conducted by the Hilo Vice Section. According to Big Island police, 11 men were arrested for soliciting prostitution while the woman was arrested for apparent prostitution. Most of the individuals arrested were Hawaii Island residents, one was an Oahu resident, and another was from East Puyallup, Washington. They all faced charges of soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor in Hawaii that is generally punished by a fine of $500 and possible imprisonment for up to 30 days.

Key Partners

State Hawaii
Type City
Population 45056
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