HONOLULU – On March 28, members of the community spotted a sign outside of Hawaiian Rent-All’s Beretania St. store saying: “Hawaiian Rent-All: DON’T WORRY HPD STILL OK TO RENT HOES FROM US.” A picture of the sign (appearing below) was circulated to local media and became a viral sensation on social networking websites. As of March 31, the sign was still up. IMUAlliance has issued a letter to Hawaiian Rent-All’s owner, Paul Gibfried, calling for a public apology from the company for publicly demeaning women and trivializing the plight of sex-trafficking victims in Hawaii.
“Sex-trafficking isn’t a laughing matter,” said IMUAlliance legislative director Kris Coffield. “There are 125 high-risk sex-trafficking establishments in the state and over 110,000 ads posted online for local prostitution each year. These victims need hope, not tasteless humor.”
IMUAlliance co-drafted House Bill 1926, which prevents police from engaging in sexual penetration during the course of prostitution investigations.
“When police engage in sexual conduct during investigations, they re-traumatize victims,” said Coffield. “Such conduct reinforces victims’ belief that police will abuse them, rather than render assistance.”
IMUAlliance is also critical of the sign’s dehumanizing public reference to women as “hoes,” i.e. “whores,” which furthers the idea that women are objects who may be bought and sold for sexual services.
“Women are not for sale,” said Coffield. “In advertising by implying that women can be paid for, Hawaiian Rent-All is effectively promoting prostitution. They should immediately apologize. Would they refer to their daughters this way?”
IMUAlliance is a nonpartisan political action group devoted to protecting democratic ideals, eradicating socioeconomic inequality, advancing educational opportunity, and animating social critique.