The federal court announced Monday, March 29, 2021, a new indictment against Ghislaine Maxwell, the woman who helped groom girls for Jeffrey Epstein. She is reported to have done more than recruit, groom and cover for Epstein, though. Regardless of how many roles she played, she is responsible for doing untold damage to the girls who fell prey. Justice for the victims of this duo is long overdue, so it is encouraging to see the system at work with this new indictment.
Read or listen to the rest of the Miami Herald story here. I follow and subscribe to the Herald as a Miami native and as a fan of the investigative journalist who brought this story to the surface, Julie K. Brown. Brown has been the driving wind behind exposing this sex trafficking – child trafficking – scheme, and her book Perversion of Justice will be released this summer. I’ve pre-ordered it and will publish a review. Follow “jkbjournalist” on Twitter and on Facebook.
What can we learn from this story and use to help other children, children who are vulnerable and in harm’s way?
One point to understand about the victims is that many were from “fractured homes” as shown in the description of Brown’s story below.
Another important point has to do with Maxwell, who “put the victims at ease” and, related to the victim described in the new indictment, “normalized sexual contact with the girl by discussing sexual topics in front of her and being in her presence when the girl was naked in Epstein’s massage room.”
We know from this story and all of the statistical data available from human trafficking reports that children who belong to destabilized families or come from broken homes are more vulnerable to being exploited as Maxwell and Epstein’s victims were. We also know that trafficking occurs when someone in a position of power and influence over victims abuses that power and influence, using whatever tools and conduct necessary to keep the victim in harm’s way.
Our takeaways must be to act on these key points:
We can do a much better job of supporting families going through conflict, as in child custody and divorce litigation or when allegations of child sexual abuse and domestic violence are reported, and do everything within our power to help maintain stability and help children heal. When they are heard and kept safe, the chance of exploitation drops dramatically. We must also do a better job of paying attention to those in a position to influence our youth, possibly grooming and providing cover or safe passage to those who abuse them.
Right now, in Atlanta, Georgia, there are children in situations that can be turned around if we heed the call to action delivered by the exposure of Maxwell and Epstein. Contact me here to learn more. Let’s explore how we can collaborate to protect the vulnerable, navigating justice with them as we strengthen their voices.
Perversion of Justice is available on August 3rd of this year, and it is available for pre-order on Barnes and Noble or on Amazon. Amazon gives this summary:
Dauntless journalist Julie K. Brown recounts her uncompromising and risky investigation of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage sex trafficking operation, and the explosive reporting for the Miami Herald that finally brought him to justice while exposing the powerful people and broken system that protected him.
For many years, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s penchant for teenage girls was an open secret in the high society of Palm Beach, Florida and Upper East Side, Manhattan. Charged in 2008 with soliciting prostitution from minors, Epstein was treated with unheard of leniency, dictating the terms of his non-prosecution. The media virtually ignored the failures of the criminal justice system, and Epstein’s friends and business partners brushed the allegations aside. But when in 2017 the U.S Attorney who approved Epstein’s plea deal, Alexander Acosta, was chosen by President Trump as Labor Secretary, reporter Julie K. Brown was compelled to ask questions.
Despite her editor’s skepticism that she could add a new dimension to a known story, Brown determined that her goal would be to track down the victims themselves. Poring over thousands of redacted court documents, traveling across the country and chasing down information in difficulty and sometimes dangerous circumstances, Brown tracked down dozens of Epstein’s victims, now young women struggling to reclaim their lives after the trauma and shame they had endured.
Brown’s resulting three-part series in the Miami Herald was one of the most explosive news stories of the decade, revealing how Epstein ran a global sex trafficking pyramid scheme with impunity for years, targeting vulnerable teens, often from fractured homes and then turning them into recruiters. The outrage led to Epstein’s arrest, the disappearance and eventual arrest of his closest accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, and the resignation of Acosta. The financier’s mysterious suicide in a New York City jail cell prompted wild speculation about the secrets he took to the grave-and whether his death was intentional or the result of foul play.
Tracking Epstein’s evolution from a college dropout to one of the most successful financiers in the country—whose associates included Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, and Bill Clinton—Perversion of Justice builds on Brown’s original award-winning series, showing the power of truth, the value of local reportage and the tenacity of one woman in the face of the deep-seated corruption of powerful men.