This week, federal prosecutors charged Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire financier, on sex crimes, including allegation that he ran a sex-trafficking ring that involved underage girls as young as 14.
Multiple women have come forward accusing Epstein of sexual assault and abuse. Prosecutors say that “thousands of sexually suggestive pictures of young women and girls seized in his Manhattan home demonstrate the predatory attitude that Mr. Epstein continues to have towards young women.”
Recent accusations of sexual assault have revived the decade old case of sex trafficking against him that was settled in 2008 after a plea deal was struck. Epstein was accused of assembling a massive cult-like network of underage girls with the help of female recruiters that coerced young women into sexual acts almost three times a day. The extraordinary plea deal struck between Epstein’s lawyers and the defense in 2007 registered him as a sex offender, gave him only 13 months in jail, and concealed the deal from the victims. This rendered the abuse inflicted on the victims invisible, ensuring that Epstein’s future would be protected.
Epstein’s victims are still fighting for justice to this day. About 80 women came forward to say that they were molested or sexually abused by Epstein from 2001 to 2006. Courtney Wild, who was 14 when she met Epstein, explains how “Jeffrey preyed on girls who were in a bad way, girls who were basically homeless. He went after girls who he thought no one would listen to and he was right.” Not only did he abuse young girls but he also forced them to go out and recruit other young girls.
Human trafficking is considered a form of modern-day slavery. It is ranked as the third greatest revenue source of organized crime after narcotics and arms, according to the UN. The people who are trafficked tend to be those who are already victims of war, poverty, discrimination and/or violence.
Media Resources: Feminist NewsWire 06/31/2014, Miami Herald 10/28/2018, 06/08/2019 NYT, 06/09/2019 NYT