Kihei, 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

Kihei is a city on Maui’s southwest shore, the sunniest and driest end of the island. Kihei has a population of approximately 23,000 residents and is located in Maui County. In recent years, community members have noted a significant increase in commercial sex sales in the area as many prostituted women have relocated their activities from West Maui’s hotels to less-expensive venues in Kihei. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market are the sex trafficking of adults and minors.

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. To deter sex buyers, the Maui Police Department has routinely conducted street-level reverse stings. They began to incorporate web stings in 2009. Once arrested, sex buyers may have their names and identifying information released to the media. For example, in February 2020, local police conducted a web-based reverse sting using an undercover officer and an online ad for an “escort” service. Charges were brought against 10 men who arranged to meet with someone they believed was an underage teenage girl for sex. Each was charged with first-degree electronic enticement of a child after allegedly making electronic contact with a law enforcement officer portraying a 13-year-old girl and showing up at the arranged meeting. A similar operation was conducted in November 2019, when a female police officer posed as a prostituted woman in a two-and-a-half-day operation conducted by the police Vice Gambling and Morals Unit at a hotel in Kihei. Police arrested 13 men who were later charged with prostitution and released after posting $100 bail each.

State Hawaii
Type City
Population 22749
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