#minorsextrafficking | Church of Jesus Christ donates funds to help sex trafficking victims

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has donated $400,000 and formed a new partnership to assist in the treatment of exploited children in Hawaii.

The church joined forces with Ho’ōla Nā Pua (New Life for Our Children) to support the Bromley Family Pearl Haven Campus, the first licensed residential treatment center in Hawaii for youth ages 11-17 who have been sexually exploited, according to a news release issued Wednesday.

Ho’ōla Nā Pua’s mission is to aid in the prevention of child sex trafficking and provide care for children who have been exploited. The nonprofit organization helps thousands of youth and community members across Hawaii each year.

According to Ho’ōla Nā Pua, the average age of a child first trafficked is 11 years old and more than 23% of victims are trafficked before their 18th birthday. Of the exploited youth in the islands, 64% are native Hawaiian.

The church’s donation will support the center’s specialized clinical and therapeutic service programs.

Elder Voi Taeoalii, an Area Seventy, said the new partnership with Ho’ōla Nā Pua addresses one of the church’s core missions, which is caring for those in need.

“Contributing with other charitable donors to provide our children and young adults compassionate and specialized care is a great blessing for all,” Elder Taeoalii said in a statement.

Jessica Muñoz, founder and president of Ho’ōla Nā Pua, said the church’s gift made it possible to complete the first phase of a renovation project at the Pearl Haven Campus.

“Pearl Haven has been built by the generosity of a courageous global community of partners, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who believe in the importance of protecting a child’s innocence while advocating for their bright futures,” Muñoz said. “Together, we are creating bright futures for the youth of Hawaii.”

Along with the financial support, Latter-day Saint volunteers have dedicated time to assembling interior furnishings and landscaping at Pearl Haven, which welcomes its first residents this month. A landscaping crew of more than 30 volunteers went to work on March 31.

“I have been so impressed with the way that Ho’ōla Nā Pua has become part of the North Shore community,” said Vonn Logan, Welfare and Self-Reliance Services manager in Hawaii. “Families support their efforts by committing to ongoing service on the grounds and facilities. All of those working hands nurture hearts that bless us all.”

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