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|July 8, 2019

Polaris Statement on Jeffrey Epstein

WASHINGTON, DC (July 8, 2019) — Polaris, a DC-based nonprofit that operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline for the United States, issued a statement in light of federal prosecutors unsealing new charges against Jeffrey Epstein. 

Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, said: "The charges against billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, as well as the tragic history of how this case was handled in Florida years ago, clearly and starkly illustrate the dynamics of how sex trafficking really works. As this case shows - and contrary to what many believe - traffickers do not fit a single stereotype. This case should open people’s eyes to see how wide-ranging the crime of trafficking really is. What unites traffickers is the understanding that this is a crime that is fundamentally about the abuse of power over those who are more vulnerable. Traffickers use money, glamour, and/or the promise of a better life, to lure, manipulate, exploit, and control.

The dynamics of the crime are the same regardless of the socioeconomic status of the trafficker and whether it takes place in a mansion or on a street corner. The punishment should be the same as well. One of the many tragedies here is that the criminal justice system utterly failed to hold a sexual predator accountable the first time around. In the Epstein case, until now, the dynamic that favors those with more wealth and power both made the trafficking possible and also ensured that the accused trafficker got off with a slap on the wrist.  We applaud the courage and resiliency of the survivors who have come forward and refused to give up in their fight for justice. We are inspired by the tenacity of the lawyers, journalists, law enforcement, and prosecutors who have stepped up after the initial failure in Florida, and found another way forward. We hope that this time, justice is finally served."

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