Kapolei, 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

Kapolei is a planned community of about 22,000 residents located in Honolulu County, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.  Prostitution has been a visible and persistent problem on the island for decades, resulting in complaints to law enforcement. Sex trafficking has also become a growing concern, with numerous adult and child sex trafficking cases being reported, including a case in which a girl with learning disabilities was trafficked and raped by her neighbor. Drugs and child sexual abuse materials have also been connected to the local commercial sex market. Organizations such as the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (P.A.S.S.) have debated with state lawmakers about reforming existing trafficking laws. In June 2013, the Governor of Hawaii signed four bills related to human trafficking into law. These include Senate Bill 192, which made solicitation of a minor for prostitution a Class C felony, changed the minimum fine for the offense to $2,000, and extended the statute of limitations from two to six years. The bill also required convicted persons to register as sex offenders and subjects their assets to forfeiture.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used in the city and the region include reverse stings, the public disclosure of sex buyer identities, and employment loss.

In January, 2023, thirteen people were arrested during an undercover sting operation where Hawaii law enforcement officers posed as children online to catch suspects. Two men were charged with child enticement, and two others were charged with commercial sexual exploitation. All four were arrested on a Saturday night in Kapolei. The identities of the arrested men were included in news reports. During a Senate Committee hearing, the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office said the operation was a joint effort between its newly created Special Investigation Prosecution Division, the Hawaii Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Honolulu Police Department. In 2022, the Hawaii Legislature appropriated funding to create the Special Investigation and Prosecution Division to help combat human trafficking in Hawaii.

Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the city. For example, in May 2016, a Kapolei High School counselor was accused of soliciting prostitution from one of his former students. The man was indicted for allegedly responding to an online commercial sex ad depicting a runaway and a minor female. At his house, the man asked the victim if she recognized him. He then showed her his school identification badge and told her who he was. The accusations against the teacher did not come to light until after the victim was arrested for prostitution in a separate undercover sting that targeted prostituted persons. Prosecutors said the victim was sent to a juvenile detention center where she disclosed the incident with the teacher to a counselor at the center. The counselor contacted police, who then initiated an investigation into the incident. The man later was terminated from his employment and pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution. In a plea agreement with the prosecutor, the man was ordered to spend 3 months in jail, but was credited with time served, resulting in no jail time being served. He was also placed on probation for five years and required to register as a sex offender, prohibiting him from being in close contact with minors at all times or possessing or viewing pornography. The court additionally ordered the offender to write an apology to the victim and victim’s family.

Key Partners

  • Honolulu Police Department
  • Hawaii Attorney General’s Office


Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrests, Loss of Employment, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Hawaii
Type City
Population 21541
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