In 2005, Jeffery Epstein, an American tycoon, was convicted of molesting a 14-year-old girl, and received a virtual slap on the wrist as he was able to continue work and receive his status in the world's wealthy elite. However, with the Me Too movement catching wind in 2016, Epstein was put under thorough scrutiny, and by July 2019, he was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, although on August 10th, he was found to have committed suicide in his jail cell.
We often think of sex trafficking as crimes occuring in bad neighborhoods, perpetrated by local thugs, because it may be easier to put trafficking in its own controllable, little bubble that, in no way, affects anywhere close to our homes. What the Epstein scandal proves is that sex trafficking affects ALL socioeconomic groups, and often, the wealthier exploiters are, the harder it is for survivors to get help.
What we can expect in the following months is survivors scrambling to obtain victims compensation and other much-needed resources, and our organization, like all our fellow survivor-aiding organizations, must be ready to provide any possible victims with wrap-around services that will help them find an identity and independence outside of victimhood. For better or worse, Epstein's death is not the end of the scandal but merely the beginning of each of his survivors' journey.
If we can be grateful of anything that comes from the Epstein scandal, we can be grateful that this case provided a much needed wake-up call about the reality of sex trafficking to the entire country, possibly the world. We can all do our part to help survivors of human trafficking, and the best place to start is in our own community. To support the growth, healing, and long-term independence of survivors in SD County, please click here