July 18, 2019
Global Hope 365 is dedicated to spreading awareness and saving lives by ending Child Marriage and ending Human Trafficking. Two famous abusers, R. Kelly and Jeffrey Epstein, are in jail on sex trafficking charges without bail. In both cases, the judge chose to withhold bail for reasons relating to long-standing patterns of abuse of girls and the safety of the community. In addition to the perpetrators being held without bail and the opportunity to finally bring justice to the victims including children, the national headlines bring to light the patterns of abuse employed by rich and famous men.
How are these two cases similar and how does the awareness help support efforts to strengthen victim’s rights as well as make legal changes?
“Too often, adults in our society have turned a blind eye to the type of criminal behavior alleged here,” said William F. Sweeney Jr., the assistant director in charge of the New York office of the F.B.I.
The headlines reporting on both cases help the public to learn more regarding the power dynamics of sex trafficking and the abuse of minor victims.
Language Matters. There is no such thing as “underage women”. The victims are “minors” or “girls.” In 2008 Epstein was prosecuted on prostitution charges rather than sex trafficking charges. Former Labor Secretary Acosta later admitted the minors were not prostitutes. The use of language in discussing both cases has been problematic and many news organizations have been called out for using inaccurate language. NPR issued a correction for using the misnomer “underage women.”
Sex Trafficking can be difficult to persecute. Both Kelly and Epstein have been charged multiple times and were later set free to pursue additional victims. A challenge is that victims are reluctant to come forward and face public scrutiny. This is a pattern in high profile cases as well as the pervasive sex trafficking in America’s cities and towns. Traffickers exploiting women and girls often pursue victims that have family histories of abuse, have run away from home, and are viewed as less than perfect by societal standards. Abusers prey on the vulnerable and then use their past histories to discredit them when they come forward.
Money and Power enable crime. Epstein was able to hire well-known and high-powered lawyers. Those lawyers were able to cut a lenient deal with Prosecutors. Former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned due to the lenient deal he gave Epstein in 2008. In addition, both Kelly and Epstein used their wealth to pay off witnesses to avoid persecution.
The following quote from an interview with Sex trafficking recruits’ victims. Charges have been filed against employees and associates of both Kelly and Epstein for recruiting victims. Historically there has been a level of victim blaming surrounding victims of human trafficking. There have been attempts to discredit or criminalize victims. The Epstein indictment alleges the accused "also paid certain of his victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused." As minors the victims do not have mature reasoning and are often lured by the promise of gifts and money. In some cases, they are economically disadvantages, are runaways, do not have stable homes, or all the above.
As advocates for policy and legal changes, Global Hope 365 supports victims and their stories. We support justice for victims including the prosecution of predators and perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law. In addition, Global Hope 365 advocates for stiffer legal penalties for both traffickers and buyers of sex.