It is the most sordid human trafficking case in the United States. Virginia Louise Roberts Giuffre, a human trafficking survivor and self-proclaimed “sex slave” and her attorneys, David Boies, Stan Pottinger, Sigrid McCawley, and Brad Edwards settle for coins. The amount of money exchanged hands is undisclosed. On Wednesday, almost two years after the case was filed, the attorneys said, “We are happy to have settled this matter without the need for a trial and are pleased with the result.”
Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged principal procurer and notorious British socialite, prevailed after extensive talks. In 2005, Virginia Giuffre claimed her trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein, a Wall Street hedge fund billionaire and convicted, registered level-3 sex offender and, Ghislaine Maxwell, ‘sold’ her for sex to powerful politicians and opinion leaders including HRH Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz.
While the safety and future of at risk children and nationwide enforcement of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) continues to hang on a limb, the longest running human trafficking case in U.S. legal history just came to an abrupt end.
Unlike most human trafficking cases, the settlement agreements are sealed in the Roberts-Giuffre case and two dozen other victim cases who sued Epstein beginning, in 2008. According to several FOIA requests the majority of official documents and court files were also heavily redacted to protect the rich and powerful implicated in the Epstein/Maxwell case.
Jeffrey E. Epstein, himself a convicted level-3 registered sex offender and his alleged principal procurer, Ghislaine Maxwell, have been fighting it out in court since Epstein’s arrest, in 2005. Courts in Florida and New York have heard a decade’s worth of testimony given by Virginia Louise Giuffre nee Roberts and dozens more survivors since Ms. Giuffre decided she was not satisfied with the original settlement agreement and wanted “justice to be served.” Justice in this survivor’s case is defined as large amounts of dollars, not protective legislation for at-risk children.
There is one Epstein related case pending in Palm Beach, Florida: Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 vs. United States Government, although it seems almost certain the Government will again prevail.
What will the Epstein case settlements mean for the future and safety of the most vulnerable population in America and enforcement of TVPA? I don’t have an answer to that question yet. After a decade-long investigation, a published book, an organization that helps to raise awareness of human trafficking, and hundreds of conversations with the parties associated in the Epstein cases, the only sure thing is that children sold for sex in the United States do not have sufficient rights and protections under our current laws.
Perhaps President Trump and his daughter, Mrs. Ivanka Trump, will change that through their human trafficking initiatives and efforts to help protect and defend survivors and at risk children in the courts.