Vaimili Case Exposes Ugly, Violent World of Sex Trafficking in Honolulu

Golden Queen is located at 350 Ward Avenue on the edge of one of Hawaii's busiest shopping and dining districts
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Golden Queen is located at 350 Ward Avenue on the edge of one of Hawaii's busiest shopping and dining districts

BY JIM DOOLEY AND MALIA ZIMMERMAN – A window into the ugly and violent world of sex trafficking was briefly opened in the trial of Joseph “Joe Blo” Vaimili.

According to evidence in the criminal case, the hulking, 6’4”, 280-pound Vaimili savagely beat, threatened and terrorized a 24-year-old woman who came to Honolulu to work as a prostitute during the week-long Pro Bowl festivities in early 2009.


The woman, who had been a prostitute in Texas, began voluntarily working at the Golden Queen “relaxation center” on Ward Avenue.

A co-worker there introduced the victim to Vaimili, 29, who immediately and completely took over her life, she told authorities.

“For the next two weeks, ‘Joe Blo’ stopped by every morning at Golden Queen and took (her) money she had earned by providing sex to customers,” a police report said.

“She was making $1,200 a day, providing sex to 8-10 clients a night. (The victim) stated she gave Joe Blo all her money because if she did not, she would get her ass kicked repeatedly by Joe Blo,” the victim told police.

Joseph 'Joe Blo' Vaimili

After two weeks, Vaimili took the woman to Waikiki and required her to “walk the track” – solicit customers along Kuhio Avenue.

The woman told police she made $2,500 her first night in Waikiki, having sex with “about seven clients.”

Shortly afterward, she told police Vaimili “knocked her unconscious” on the street in Waikiki because he accused her of “disrespecting him.”

Vaimili beat the woman numerous times with his fists, one of her high-heeled shoes, a belt and a hotel room lamp, according to the police report.

In early March, Vaimili sent the woman back to work at Golden Queen “because she was getting into too much trouble walking the track and because (he) had to travel to San Francisco.”

On the morning of March 3, 2009, Vaimili took “about $2,000 from her that she made on the previous night at Golden Queen” and left her with no money for food or cigarettes, the woman told police.

That night, he kidnapped her from Golden Queen, drove her to the North Shore, put a gun to her head and in her mouth and told her he was going to kill her.

Golden Queen at 350 Ward Avenue has been the site of multiple prostitution arrests, but the business continues to operate

Shortly after that encounter, the woman was “rescued” from Golden Queen by law enforcement.

Vaimili was indicted in 2009 on charges of kidnapping, terroristic threatening and first-degree promotion of prostitution.

Court records show that when Vaimili committed those 2009 crimes, he was serving a HOPE probation sentence for drug-related offenses.

The HOPE program is intended limit new criminal behavior through close supervision of probationers and immediate consequences for violations.

The day before the kidnapping trial was to begin in 2010, Vaimili jumped $250,000 he had posted and fled the Islands.

Circuit Judge Randal Lee, who had sentenced Vaimili to HOPE probation and later permitted him to post bond in the new case, held trial in Vaimili’s absence and the defendant was convicted of all charges.

After U.S. Marshals apprehended Vaimili in Texas last year, he was returned to Honolulu and sentenced by Lee to 40 years behind bars at the Halawa Correctional Facility on Oahu.

See related story: 350 Ward Avenue’s ‘Relaxation Parlors’ Hot Spot for Prostitution, State Licensing Violations

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  1. 40 years!!! Yes!!! Great job, Judge Lee. It’s about time he put away this undereducated, subhuman monster Joseph ‘Joe Blo’ Vaimili.

  2. Joe, you must not have heard of the governor’s “Justice Reinvestment” program. A 40 year sentence actually translates into only a couple of years in priso, a couple more years on probation and 1 year in a residential rehab program that is moving in next door to you. It might not be justice but think of all the money the taxpayers will save!

  3. Sex trafficking is flourishing all over the United States. Shared Hope International conducted a comprehensive analysis of each state’s existing laws, called the Protected Innocence Initiative. Hawaii earned an “F.” Shared Hope International is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating sex trafficking from the U.S. and the globe. Visit to learn more about us, Hawaii’s grade, and how to improve it.

    • With or without sex trafficking, your organization would still be pursuing your activist agenda against prostitution because you are more about a militant feminist ideology concerning gender relations than about coercion and trafficking. Congratulations on your paradigm, especially your fund raising paradigm, in which you use the specter of coercion to collect money from the church ladies whose own prudishness about sex in general make them easy targets of fund raising.

  4. i know exactly what that girlwent through unfortunately i was joseph first prostitute from when i was 14 and i am now 25 and just got out of prisonfrom doing a 6 tyear stretch. i also have a beautiful son by him and hell never know him…what he di was wrong but ive learned to forgive him i just know its ot gonna be easy to forgive himself. i no longer allow him tocontrol me. my email for more info is

  5. Horrible! I wasn't aware this was happening over there. Makes me think of other things that might be happening without our knowledge.

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