UPDATED: July 18th at 9:15 am
On July 6th, Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein made national headlines, when he was arrested for sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Allegations claim that “he paid girls as young as 14 for sex and used them to recruit other young girls between 2002 and 2005.” In 2008, he received a lenient plea deal that kept him from being federally prosecuted. Now is an important moment in history as survivors are coming forward and finally being heard. On Monday, July 15th, survivors were heard in court. The judge decided on Thursday, July 18th to deny bail to Jeffrey Epstein until his trial.
As advocates against human trafficking, this is the time to come together and make this statement:
It shouldn’t matter how much or how little money you have. It shouldn’t matter how connected or powerful you are — if you are engaged in abusing girls and trafficking children you MUST be held accountable for your crimes.
Here are three things we can do right now to keep this conversation at the forefront:
1) Use your voice to create public awareness
With social media as a resource, we have the ability to ensure that this issue does not leave the public eye. We saw how powerful it was when we united to speak up for trafficking survivor, Cyntoia Brown. Now, we have the same opportunity to speak up and support the survivors involved in Jeffrey Epstein’s heinous trafficking ring.
How to take action:
Share articles from sources you trust. Use the following caption when sharing or create your own. Tell people how you currently combat human trafficking and recommend organizations that you support.
“Human trafficking is an issue that exists in the United States of America. I encourage you to read about the case of Jeffrey Epstein and realize that this case is not an isolated incident. Sexual exploitation and human trafficking occur every day. Please join me in advocating and bringing an end to human trafficking by spreading awareness, donating to anti-trafficking work and sharing about this issue with others.”
2) Write, call & tweet at your legislators to put pressure on the US government and Dept. of Labor, to protect both funding and support for victims.
UPDATE: Alex Acosta has since resigned from his position as US Secretary of Labor.
Alex Acosta is the current US Secretary of Labor and was also responsible for Jeffrey Epstein’s lenient plea deal back in 2008 that shielded Epstein from federal prosecution. As US Secretary of Labor, Acosta has been tasked with preventing human trafficking, but we believe there are vital changes the Department of Labor need to make to uphold their responsibility. He has proposed to cut funding for anti-trafficking work in the past. We must tell our legislators to keep human trafficking on the federal agenda and protect survivors.
[@yourrepresentativeshandle] : the #JeffreyEpstein case shows that trafficking exists in the US. I encourage you to do everything in your power to protect future funding and resources for survivors of trafficking and to ensure the @USDOL is doing their part to protect survivors.
3) Hold the news accountable to how they report on child trafficking cases
Whenever cases of child trafficking surface, we see terms being used that are inaccurate and harmful. If you read an article that refers to victims as “underage women” or “child prostitutes”, write to the editor to let them know that these terms are harmful to the fight to end human trafficking. According to the definition of trafficking in the United States, there is no such thing as a “child prostitute”. Language is powerful and it is important that we call the crime what it is which is the abuse of children.
If we hear of other ways to help as this case unfolds, we will update you here. Thank you for raising your voice to help end human trafficking with us.