|| Epstein Case is a Disturbing Example of Predatory and Systematic Child Abuse
by Nick Wooldridge
Many people want to believe that the abuse of children is more anomaly than norm. Unfortunately, the data indicates otherwise and the sex trafficking case involving wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein further highlights the ability of abusers to harm young children for extended periods of time.
Courtney Wild came forward and alleged she was victimized by Jeffrey Epstein as a child. She approached law enforcement in 2008 about the abuse. However, her voice was silenced due to secret plea agreements and a general skepticism associated with accusing the wealthy and influential of wrongdoing, according to CBS News.
Today (after more than a decade has passed since she originally revealed her abuse), Wild is making sure her voice is heard and that justice is pursued to hold Epstein accountable and prevent him from abusing other children.
Overview of Child Abuse
Child abuse is generally considered to be the intentional mistreatment, harm or neglect of a minor. Child abuse can take many forms and often occurs repeatedly. Some child are abused physically, sexually, and/or psychologically.
Unfortunately, child abuse is not rare. In fact, it occurs with troubling regularity. For example, approximately 7.5 million children report being abused each and every year in the United States.
The impact of child abuse is not relegated to the child and their immediate family. Society in general is harmed when this type of abuse occurs. For example, the financial impact of child abuse and neglect in the United States is a mind-boggling $585 billion, according to the American Society Positive Care of Children.
Disturbing Example of Predatory and Systematic Child Abuse
The allegations against Jeffrey Epstein are nothing short of shocking and disgusting. They reveal someone who engaged in predatory and systematic abuse of young girls. As a result, Epstein has been criminally charged for allegedly sex trafficking numerous minors over a number of years. According to law enforcement, the underage victims abused by Epstein were targeted and deemed to be particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation due to their socioeconomic status.
Many of the underage victims came from disadvantaged families, including homes with only one parent or from the foster care system. Reports indicate that many of the young girls were a single step away becoming homeless when they were approached by Epstein and his cadre of sycophants.
Targeting Disadvantaged and Financially Distressed Children
The Epstein case highlights the targeting of disadvantaged and financially distressed children. Public data indicates that this type of targeting is quite common. In fact, the sexual-assault victimization rate for individuals who come from households making less than $7,500 is twelve times higher than someone living in a household making in excess of $75,000.
A study was conducted analyzing the role of gangs in sex trafficking. The study found that a majority of gang facilitators relied less on physical coercion than on the exploitation of an individual’s socioeconomic vulnerability, prior abuse in the home, drug addiction, and so forth. This study also found a correlation between victimization, homelessness and foster care. For example, more than 50 percent of adult sex-trafficking survivors reported having experienced some form of homelessness when they were children, according to the University of San Diego.
The Congressional Research Service determined that the commercial sexual abuse and exploitation of children appears to be driven by numerous individual, community and societal variables. Those variables included homelessness as a child.
Females At Highest Risk of Becoming Victims of Underage Sex Trafficking
Public data indicates that the survivors of human trafficking, which includes sex trafficking, is overwhelmingly female. In fact, roughly 81 percent of sex trafficking victims are reportedly female and at least 25 percent are minors, according to 2017 statistics released by Polaris, a non-profit organization that is in charge of the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Prosecution of Epstein
In an indictment unsealed this week, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York accused Epstein of sexually abusing and exploiting “dozens” of girls as young as 14 in New York and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005, according to Market Watch.
Epstein, who is a registered sex offender, reportedly paid many of these underage victims to actively recruit additional underage girls to expand his enterprise of abuse victims. If convicted, Epstein could be ordered to serve a maximum of 45 years in prison.
Nick Wooldridge -
is a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas as well as a published author and civil rights advocate. Nick wrote this article exclusively for NAASCA.