Kathryn Xian

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Kathryn Xian (born 1972) is a Human rights activist and Democratic candidate for Hawai'i's first congressional district. She is Non-Executive Director of Girl Fest Hawai'i and Executive Director of Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, a nonprofit service provider for survivors of human trafficking. Xian is also chair of the Justice and Outreach Ministry at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu.


Kathryn Xian was born and raised in Hawai'i. Her great grandfather came to the islands aboard the SS Gaelic, which brought the first Koreans to Hawai'i. Xian is openly Gay and participated in Hawai'i's movement to legalize Same-sex marriage in 2013.[1][2]

Girl Fest HawaiiEdit

In 2003, Xian started 'Girl Fest Hawaii' to prevent violence against Women and Girls through education and art.[3] A year later, Girl Fest Hawaii partnered with 'Equality Now' to pass the nation's first state law outlawing sex-tourism. Signed into law as Act 82, the law has become a model for other states seeking to ban the sale of travel services for the purpose of engaging in Prostitution.[4]

Xian co-founded the 'Rape-Free Zone Coalition', in 2005, which successfully campaigned to declare all campuses included within the University of Hawai'i system as rape-free zones and required all managerial and executive staff to attend an anti-sexism leadership training.[5]

In 2008, Xian and 'Girl Fest Hawaii' lobbied the Hawai'i State Legislature to increase the age limit of a minor victim of promoting prostitution from less than 16 to 18 years-of-age.

Pacific Alliance to Stop SlaveryEdit

Xian formed 'Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery' (PASS), in 2009, to stop human trafficking in Hawaiʻi and the greater Pacific region.[6] According to the group's mission statement, PASS "provides services and advocacy to survivors of human trafficking, education and training to service providers on the identification of human trafficking victims, and awareness and prevention education for the community."[7]

In 2011, PASS lobbied for the passage of Hawaii’s first labor-trafficking law and reforms to the state's promoting prostitution statutes. At the time, Hawai'i was one of four states in the nation with no law criminalizing human trafficking as a felony, and was ranked a "Tier 4 state" by Polaris Project, the group's worst available rating. After the anti-trafficking reforms championed by PASS were enacted, Hawai'i was given a "Tier 1" ranking by Polaris Project, the organization's best possible ranking.[8]

PASS advocated for further anti-trafficking laws in 2012 and 2013, including a "vacating convictions" law to allow victims of sex-trafficking to vacate their records if they can prove that prostitution-related crimes were coerced and "end demand" reforms to ban solicitation of a minor for prostitution as a felony offense.[9]

Congressional CampaignEdit

On September 30, 2013, Xian announced her candidacy for Congress.[10] She was seeking election to Hawai'i's first congressional district seat, which was vacated when Rep. Colleen Hanabusa challenged incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz for one of Hawai'i's two U.S. Senate seats. Xian has refused to accept corporate donations to her campaign.[11]


  • 2005 National Education Association's Ellison S. Onizuka Human & Civil Rights Award Recipient
  • 2006 Soroptimist International of the Americas ~ Making a Difference for Women Award Recipient
  • 2009 Glamour Magazine Woman of Your Year Nominee
  • 2010 Pacific Business News' Class of Forty Under 40
  • 2010 Weinberg Foundation Fellow
  • 2010 Vision 2020 Hawaii Delegate
  • 2012 Norma Hotaling Anti-Trafficking Award - Josephine Butler Award for Policy Change
  • 2013 Pacific Edge Magazine Nonprofit Impact Award


  1. Blair, Chad (30 September 2013). "'Wild West Shootout' for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District Seat"Honolulu Civil Beat. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  2. Kathryn Xian Announces Run for Congress
  3. "Girl Fest Hawaii". Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  4. Equality Now. "Hawaii: Legislation Passed to End Sex Tourism and Hold Sex Tour Operators Accountable". Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  5. Vorsino, Mary (27 August 2005). "UH vows to create rape-free campuses"Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  6. "Find the Company". Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  7. PASS Hawaii. "PASS Hawaii - About". Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  8. Coffield, Kris (3 January 2013). "Time to Shutter the Local Sex Trade in Hawaii". Honolulu Civil Beat. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  9. Zimmerman, Malia (2 May 2013). "Hawaii Lawmakers Pass Four Anti-Slavery Bills"Hawaii Reporter. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  10. Zimmerman, Malia. "New Hawaii candidate enters the race for Congress". Hawaii Reporter. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  11. Boylan, Dan (14 May 2004). "Running As A Political 'Alternative' - Kathryn Xian". Honolulu Midweek.

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