Group studies scourge of missing, murdered Native Hawaiians

  • State Rep. Stacelynn Eli stands for a portrait in Nanakuli, Oahu on June 21. The Hawaii House of Representatives earlier this year passed a resolution, sponsored by Eli, creating a state task force to gather data on missing and murdered Native Hawaiian women and girls and to identify reasons for the problem. Eli says she knows of friends and classmates who were trafficked and doesn’t want her nieces to face the same thing because no one knew enough to take action. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

  • Ashley Maha'a sits in a park in Honolulu on June 22. 'I’ve met so many people on the mainland, and so, so, so many of them have told me that when they were being trafficked nationally, they would be flown here for a period of time and work here when things were slow, because the demand is so high,' Maha‘a says. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

HONOLULU — At first, he was just a boyfriend. He gave Ashley Maha‘a gifts and attention. But then he gave her drugs and became controlling and abusive. He would punish her for breaking ambiguous, undefined “rules,” only to later say he was sorry and shower her with flowers and lavish presents.