"The Jeffrey Epstein case is forcing the American public to reckon with difficult questions about power, wealth, and the apparent ease with which all too many people were able to ignore evidence of abuse.It’s also thrown a spotlight on what may be one of the most poorly understood crimes in America: human trafficking.
The federal government defines trafficking as using “force, fraud, or coercion” to make someone perform labor. That can include sex trafficking. When he died, Epstein was facing trafficking charges in connection with allegations that he paid underage girls for sex."
"Epstein, for his part, was facing two trafficking charges when he died: sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. Those charges stemmed from allegations that, in the words of the federal indictment issued earlier this year, the money manager “enticed and recruited” underage girls to his homes in New York and Florida “to engage in sex acts with him, after which he would give the victims hundreds of dollars in cash.”"
"A lot of the details of Jeffrey Epstein’s case, such as his enormous wealth and his ties to powerful people, make it unusual in the larger world of human trafficking.
But other aspects of the case, said D’Adamo, “are so common.” According to the allegations against him, she said, “he went after marginalized young women” who needed money and who “would probably not be believed” if they came forward to report abuse, D’Adamo said.
“Jeffrey preyed on girls who were in a bad way, girls who were basically homeless,” Courtney Wild, who met Epstein when she was 14, told Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald last year. “He went after girls who he thought no one would listen to and he was right.’’"
"When it comes to human trafficking more broadly, the Epstein case has the potential to teach the American public a lesson about how powerful people prey on the less powerful, advocates say, even if the specifics are somewhat unique.“If we can think about power, if we can think about status, if we can think about need and how all of that plays into these cases,” said Tuerkheimer, the Northwestern professor, “I think we’ll have a greater understanding and greater empathy when someone comes forward.”"