Sex trafficking

Hawaii: Legislation Passed to End Sex Tourism and Hold Sex Tour Operators Accountable

Action Number: 
24.2
Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2004 May 1

In an unprecedented move to combat sex tourism, the Hawaii State legislature passed HB 2020, an Act relating to prostitution, which the Lt. Governor signed into law, as Act 82, on May 19, 2004. The Act makes it a felony offense, with a sentence of up to five years in prison, to sell or offer to sell travel services for the purpose of engaging in prostitution and authorizes suspension or revocation of a travel agency registration for engaging in these acts.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to Hawaii State Representative Marilyn Lee, the main sponsor of Act 82. Congratulate her on the success of her initiative to facilitate the prosecution of sex tour operators. Urge her to encourage legislators in other states to do the same. Please also encourage your own legislators to pass a law specifically criminalizing the activities of sex tour operators using Hawaii’s legislation as an example. The full text of the legislation is available on-line.

State Representative Marilyn B. Lee
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 421
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Tel: +1 808-586-9460
Fax: +1 808-586-9466
E-mail: replee@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Hawaii: Legislation to End Sex Tourism and Hold Sex Tour Operators Accountable

Action Number: 
24.1
Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2004 Mar 1

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What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Majority and Minority leaders of the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives asking them to support the proposed legislation prohibiting sex tourism (HB 2020 in its current form). Note that the passage of this legislation will simplify the prosecution of sex tour operators like Melvin Hamaguchi and could serve as a model for other states. Welcome the State of Hawaii’s efforts to eradicate sex tourism, and remind the legislators that sex tourism contributes to the trafficking of women and girls. Letters should be addressed to:

Senate Majority Leader Colleen Hanabusa
21st Senatorial District
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 214
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Phone: +1-808-586-7793
Fax: +1-808-586-7797
Email: senhanabusa@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings
25th Senatorial District
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 221
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Phone: +1-808-587-8388
Fax: +1-808-587-7240
Email: senhemmings@Capitol.hawaii.gov

House Majority Leader Scott K. Saiki
22nd Representative District
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 438
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Phone: +1-808-586-8485
Fax: +1-808-586-8489
Email: repsaiki@Capitol.hawaii.gov

House Minority Leader Galen Fox
23rd Representative District
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 318
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
USA
Phone: +1-808-586-8520
Fax: 1+808-586-8524
Email: repfox@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Sex Tourism: Big Apple Oriental Tour Operators Re-Indicted for Promoting Prostitution

Action Number: 
12.3
Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2005 Oct 1
Update Date: 
2008 Nov 3
Update: 

In 1996, Equality Now launched its Women's Action campaign calling for the prosecution of Big Apple Oriental Tours, a sex-tour company based in New York State.  The campaign focused on shutting down Big Apple Oriental Tours and securing a criminal prosecution for Barabash and Allen for promoting prostitution under New York State law.  Big Apple Oriental Tours was effectively shut down in 2003 by a temporary restraining order obtained by the New York State Attorney General in a civil lawsuit.  After a first criminal indictment, an appeal, a second criminal indictment and second appeal, the criminal case has been referred back to the Dutchess County Court for trial (for more information on the background of the case and law please see Women’s Actions 12.1 and 12.2).

On December 26, 2006, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York upheld the dismissal of the charge of promoting prostitution in the third degree but reinstated the charge of promoting prostitution in the fourth degree against the Big Apple Oriental Tour operators.  Equally important, the Appellate Division dismissed Barabash and Allen’s remaining arguments as "without merit" including that their sex tour operations are not subject to promoting prostitution charges in state courts because of lack of jurisdiction.  Barabash and Allen will now have to stand trial, facing up to one year of imprisonment if convicted.  The trial date has been set for 7 January 2009. 

Members are requested to ask new New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who replaced Eliot Spitzer, to continue to pursue the case vigorously. (Letters may be sent to the same address and fax number listed below.  Please also send a copy to Equality Now.)

Norman Barabash and Douglas Allen, the owner/operators of New York-based sex tour company Big Apple Oriental Tours, have been indicted for the second time by a Dutchess County Grand Jury for promoting prostitution in violation of Article 230 of the New York Penal Law.  Mr. Barabash and Mr. Allen were arraigned on 8 August 2005, pleading not guilty, at the Dutchess County Courthouse in Poughkeepsie, New York.  If convicted, Mr. Barabash and Mr. Allen could face up to seven years in prison.   

What You Can Do: 

Please write to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, commending him for his leadership in continuing to pursue the case against Big Apple Oriental Tours for promoting prostitution through sex tourism.  Express your hope that his action will set an example for and encourage his colleagues around the country to take legal action against other sex tour operators in the United States.

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341, USA
Fax: +1 518-402-2472

Sex Tourism: Big Apple Oriental Tour Operators Indicted for Promoting Prostitution

Action Number: 
12.2
Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2004 Mar 1

On 27 February 2004, following a year-long investigation by the New York State Attorney General, Norman Barabash and Douglas Allen, the owner/operators of Big Apple Oriental Tours were indicted by a grand jury for promoting prostitution, in violation of Section 230.25 of the Penal Law of the State of New York.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, commending him for his leadership in upholding the law and mobilizing long overdue law enforcement efforts to stop Big Apple Oriental Tours from promoting prostitution through its sex tours. Express your hope that his action will set an example for and encourage his colleagues around the country to fully prosecute all sex tour operators promoting prostitution from the United States.

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341 USA
Fax: +1-518-402-2472

Sex Tourism: "Real sex with real girls, all for real cheap"

Action Number: 
12.1
Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1996 Dec 1

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What You Can Do: 

Write to the United States and New York State officials listed below and ask them to take action to stop sex tourism, including the investigation and prosecution of sex tourism agencies. Call on the New York officials to prosecute Norman Barabash, owner of Big Apple Oriental Tours, a business enterprise in New York involving prostitution activity. Suggest that immediate action will signal a commitment to end the degrading and exploitative practice of sex tourism which is destroying the lives of so many girls and women. Bring information on Big Apple Oriental Tours and sex tourism to the attention of the media. Ask them to expose this systematic exploitation of girls and women, and governmental indifference to sex tourism, as a flagrant violation of national and international law.

Mr. Richard Brown
Queens District Attorney
125-01 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens
New York, NY 11415
Fax: 718-286-6350

Mr. Dennis Vacco
New York Attorney General
120 Broadway
New York, NY 10271
Fax: 212-416-8942

The Honorable Janet Reno
Attorney General
Department of Justice
Tenth and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530
Fax: 202-514-3296

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