Child trafficking is big business and it isn’t just in Southeast Asia. The recent arrest of Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL franchise Patriots, is only the most recent evidence of the wealthy using human beings as if they are objects in Florida and getting away with it. While the trafficking in that situation was reportedly adults, it is seldom limited to that and the investigation was leading in other areas.
In America, we like to tout how important our children are, but the evidence does support that claim. Not when millionaires can get away with the sexual abuse of children by hiring power attorneys. Not when we are more politically concerned about tax breaks than human rights.
My father was an economist and professor of economics. The one really and truly valuable thing he taught me from that field was this:
If you want to know what a person or society considers valuable, look at where they put their resources.
The evidence simply does not point to our valuing children in America.
This is a story about one very rich area in Florida, but it happens everywhere. If you have the power, money, and connections you can buy children as easily as a gallon of milk.
As a therapist who specializes in trauma and addictions. I write a lot about those, especially when they are related to sexual abuse. I see the fallout from the childhood abuse in the adult years. It becomes personal for me. I get angry. Angry because the topic gets attention for a minute when Michael Jackson or R. Kelly get caught and we argue about whether we can appreciate them as artists any more. Meanwhile, they hire power lawyers and image managers and get away with ruining the lives of children who will become adults struggling with darkness they should not have to struggle with.
Powerful men have been getting away with this forever in this country and it is time that it stops. It is time that we begin really valuing children and not simply giving the idea lip service. We cannot continue to voice how precious children are and allow powerful men to get away with sexually using young boys and girls.
In Robert Kraft, as mentioned, was arrested for patronizing a massage parlor in Florida known to have been involved with sex trafficking. But it didn’t stop there. Also implicated were John Havens, COO of Citigroup and John Childs of the equity firm J.W. Childs Associates. In a report by the Washington Post Sherrif Snyder referred to these men as “monsters”.
He is right. They are monsters. But they are not the only monsters in this wealthy part of Florida. In fact, these monsters have a club and for a long time the leader of this club was Jeffrey Epstein, a millionaire pedophile from Palm Beach. Epstein was known for throwing massive parties and making girls and boys as young as 12 and 13 available to his party guests.
Those guests were among the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world and, reportedly, included former president Bill Clinton and current president Donald Trump.
In a Miami Herald expose’ of Epstein a clear path from these trafficked parties to the White House is laid out for the reader that leads from his arrest for child sexual abuse to serving only 13 months in a country club county lockup. Had Epstein been poor, black, or less connected he would be serving the remainder of his life in a small cell much less comfortable than the county jail. The Herald points out that this sweet deal was cut with him by none other than the current Labor Secretary for the Trump Administration, Alex Acosta. Acosta was, at that time, the US Attorney for Miami appointed by the Bush administration.
This deal has recently come under intense scrutiny. When Acosta allowed Epstein to sign a non-prosecution agreement which landed him only 13 months in jail it also ended an FBI investigation of his operation which was purported to be trafficking children as young as 12 and 13 from overseas for sex. The deal was also made without the informing or consent of Epstein’s victims. Questions remain: What evidence would have been turned up by the investigation? Whose names would appear next to Epstein’s on future indictments?
Recently the deal has come to the attention of US District Judge Kenneth Marra who finds the decision intentionally misleading. This scrutiny has led to a review of previously sealed documents and consideration of their release on March 19th by a three-judge federal court of appeals in NY. The burden is on the defense team for Epstein to show reason that these documents should not be unsealed. If these records are unsealed we are faced, as a society, with certain decisions we must make. If they are not, we are faced with another set of decisions.
In both scenarios it will be up to us as a united citizenry to say simply “NO MORE”. Michael Jackson and R. Kelly have been allowed to continue the victimization of children by our silence. The public has allowed the argument to be diverted to “is it ok to listen to their music or enjoy their art” while they continue punishing the survivors who have the audacity to expect better from the world.
If the files are unsealed, they must be read by the public. They must be taken seriously and new prosecutions and investigations must begin no matter where they lead. The discussion cannot be “how did we let this happen” but should turn instead to “how do we stop this now” because it is ongoing and voyeuristic judgment will not stop it. If the files are not unsealed then we must begin investigating why and how. We must continue to push for accountability in either instance.
We must, as a public, rise to the challenge and take to the streets to demand that investigations begin anew and that children finally do become our most valuable resource, or we must prepare ourselves to accept the responsiblity for the future rape of children.