Posts made in August 2019

Conchita Sarnoff

The Jeffrey Epstein Story: Media and Cultural Rot


The Jeffrey Epstein Story: Media and Cultural Rot

By Mitzi Perdue

Want some sordid details about how the rich and powerful evade the law? 

This is a story uncovered by investigative journalist Conchita Sarnoff. There’s a good chance that a lot of what you know about the Jeffrey Epstein case comes either directly from Sarnoff’s writing, or from others who benefitted from her decade’s long research.

Sarnoff learned about the Epstein case in a roundabout way. She was researching the issue of sex trafficking in the United States when she stumbled upon the Epstein case.

Her interest began when she was at a dinner in Mexico City, January of 2006. A government official startled her with an accusation. 

 “You Americans are a bunch of hypocrites,” he told her. “You buy our drugs, sell us illegal weapons, and now you are stealing our children.”

Sarnoff was aware of accusations that our government had facilitated the sale of guns in Mexico, and that there is a drug epidemic in the US, but hearing that we in the United States were stealing children from another country to traffic them for sex was new and deeply disturbing. 

When she returned home to Washington, DC, she began to research the issue. Soon after, she met Deborah Sigmund, founder of the anti-trafficking organization Innocents at Risk.

 Sigmund arranged for her to meet the Italian ambassador who was hosting an anti-trafficking breakfast. There she met a  12-year old girl who had been trafficked from Mexico to the United States and ended up in Washington, DC.

Sarnoff came from what she describes as a “charmed childhood,” and had never been abused, but even so, she felt “… an instant identification with this child.” Meeting the little girl made the issue real to her.  

Sarnoff decided to investigate human trafficking further with the idea of producing a documentary on the subject. Soon she had enough material to write a book on trafficking. 

Her history played a large role in what happened next. She’s related to General David Sarnoff, founder of NBC.  Some of her friendships overlapped with Jeffrey Epstein’s and Ghislaine Maxwell’s social circle.

Because of these connections, whenA Epstein was found guilty in 2007, she had access to him and Ghislaine Maxwell. Through extensive research and guidance from neighbors and friends inside Epstein’s circle, she learned that Epstein’s crimes involved the rich, the powerful, the famous, and the royal. 

As Sarnoff revealed in her book TrafficKing, “The people implicated in the Epstein case ranged from Harvard University to the White House to Buckingham Palace.”

“I had known Jeffrey Epstein since the early 90s and met Ghislaine Maxwell around the same time,” she says. In 2010, after further investigation she did something that few other people could do. She telephoned Epstein and Maxwell to find their side of the story. She spoke to them both. 

Epstein warned her during one of their telephone conversations they were “probably being taped by the Feds.” Unmoved she continued the conversations. There was nothing to hide.

Later in her investigation when Epstein was exposed as a Level 3 Sex Offender, that is, one who was at high risk of re-offending, Sarnoff telephoned Judge Ruth Pickholz to find out why the Manhattan DA’s office had appealed his registration to a Level 1. 

She next contacted the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, Jr., questioning his decision to appeal Epstein’s sex offender status.  She also relayed to him information on 11 parole violations she had learned about from Brad Edwards, a lawyer for the victims.  

As she continued investigating the Epstein story, she learned that he wasn’t only sexually abusing children; he was also paying at least one girl to service his rich and powerful friends-–the very definition of child sex trafficking. She told this to the attorney Brad Edwards and suggested that Epstein should be accused of sex trafficking.

IN 2008, she pitched her book, and in 2009, Random House Mexico signed a book deal. In 2012, however, they killed the deal. Richard Johnson, Page 6, New York Post, printed two stories about her book deal. 

https://pagesix.com/2014/11/05/author-faces-off-against-bill-clinton/

Newspapers which, as society’s watchdog, should have been all over this insider’s story, as they have been since November 2018. Instead they shielded and protected Epstein and his enablers while silencing Sarnoff.

https://pagesix.com/2015/12/01epstein-sex-scandal-book-clears-bill-clinton/

In 2010 and 2011, she pitched the book again. To her intense consternation, 27 publishers turned her down. Publishers and mainstream media outlets continued to ignore her. Sarnoff can’t know whether it was Epstein’s financial clout or his political connections, or maybe something else, but it wasn’t until 2016 that her book saw the light of day. 

 

“If the press and the media hadn’t sat on the story,” she said, “I wouldn’t have spent ten years of my life following this case and writing this book. More importantly, a trafficker would have gone to jail before he could harm even more victims.”

 

“I don’t believe in exposing all the dirty laundry in public ” she continues, “but what is happening to our country when we shield a predator like Epstein is dangerous to our children and communities.”

Her book, “TrafficKing” is available on her website CONCHITASARNOFF.COM  and on Amazon. It’s the story of how Sarnoff, despite being offered a bribe to stay silent, risked her life to expose the brutal reality of human trafficking and the Jeffrey E. Epstein case.

Sarnoff continues to lecture about human trafficking and is the founder of the Georgetown University Human Trafficking Research Center at the Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is also Executive Director of the Alliance to Rescue Victims of Trafficking. For more information about this anti-sex trafficking organization, go to atrvt.org.

Mitzi Perdue is the organizer of the Global Anti-Trafficking Auction. Contact her at Mitzi@AntiTraffickingAuction.com

Vanda M

Traffickers Target the Vulnerable; They Don’t Care If You’re Rich, Poor or In-between

Although traffickers prey on people who are vulnerable, you don’t have to be poor or come from a broken family to be vulnerable. Vanda M came from a solidly middle class, two-parent family.

Her father worked for a major hospital and her mother was a deeply religious woman whose approach to sex was close to Puritanical. How could it happen that Wanda could end up in the commercial sex world?

“I was a product of the rebellious 1960s,” Wanda begins her explanation. “I was a rebellious kid, and when my father told me, ‘I won’t pay for your college if you date a black guy,’ I immediately started dating a black guy.”

The rebelliousness was only part of what was going on in her life. “I was influenced by hallucinogens, and then there was a covert aspect of what my parents were teaching me. I remember watching my dad watching the Miss America contest.”

Vanda remembers how “…he was judging women by their boobs and butts. And my mother was really interested in my being pretty and able to attract a good provider.” Vanda learned that how she looked was an important value to her parents.

The Perfect Storm

Those factors played a role, but they became a perfect storm when tragedy struck her family. Vanda was 13 when her adored older brother drowned in the town reservoir.

Four years later, her father died in a car accident. There were no grief counselors back then, and the family didn’t have the tools for coping with their anguish.

In the case of Vanda, she acted out. She ran away from her private boarding school, and with $100 in her pocket, she ended up in Times Square, New York.  

She needed to support herself, and not finding any other kind of work, she got a job as a stripper. Surprisingly, it didn’t seem like a bad job. At first.

“I was a show-off,” she recalls. “I remember walking out to do my stripping.  I saw a man’s jaw drop and heard him say to the guy next to him, ‘Now there’s a woman!’” Given her parents’ emphasis on physical appearance, she liked this.

Vanda quickly found a boyfriend. As often happens with traffickers, he was positively brilliant in psychologically manipulating her, and quickly led her into the world of commercialized sex.  

“I left him nine times in nine months, but I was so needy because of the loss of my brother and father, that I kept coming back,” she remembers.

Finally, she was able to break loose for good. She called her mother, asking, “Can I come home and revamp my life?”  

An Amazingly Together Woman

Revamping her life worked. She started college, studying criminal justice, but before finishing, she left to become a full time stand-up comic.  

Her career since then has been a success, but she felt it took a lot of effort to become the person she is today. “I read everything I could find on personal improvement, I meditated, I took courses.” She even read philosophers and famous scientists.

Today, Vanda is one of the most “together” women your likely to come across. It took her some hard work to get to where she is today, and she’s living proof that people can have a life of dignity and respect and love even after a seriously dark time.

Maybe it would be fair to describe her as the living embodiment of the saying, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” She jokes about how her mother once told her, “Vanda, why do you have to learn everything the hard way?”

When asked if she has a tip, garnered from her life’s experiences, she says, “Teach boys to satisfy their sex desires without ‘stealing sex.’ Don’t get sex by using pills or getting a woman so drunk she doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

 Instead, she hopes young men and young women will learn to be decent people. That means becoming the kind of person who can earn a real relationship with a deserving partner.

Vanda W is writing a book on her experiences that’s coming out in 2020. Come back to www.AntiTraffickingAuction.com/blog for an alert for when it’s published, as well as to learn more about anti-trafficking organizations.

 

 

A System for Protecting Children from Trafficking

Lamont Hiebert

Lamont Hiebert

 

You want your kids to be safe, right?

“Start early,” warns Lamont Hiebert. “Traffickers have been known to start grooming children as young as eight years old.” As Program Director of UNITAS, the New York and Serbian-based anti-trafficking organization, he has more expertise on this than most people. 

He’s seen that traffickers can be patient and strategic about gaining the confidence of their targets. Let’s say we’re talking about a boy.  He could be ten or 12, and one day an older boy he knows and looks up to tells him, “Here’s $100, get your mom a bag of groceries.”

The boy is thrilled.  As Hiebert says, “Can you imagine how good he feels?  He’s a hero!”

The older boy stays in touch with the boy, acting like a mentor, doing small favors for him.  Then one day, when the boy is a couple of years older, his “friend” says, “Hey, I need a favor.  Run this errand for me.”

The errand involves something illegal, and the boy knows it, but he wants to look good to the older boy and agrees.  Helping out his older friend and getting paid for it becomes a habit.

So where does this lead?  Soon, the older boy asks him to help recruit girls for trafficking. He’s on his way to a life as a pimp.

Hiebert knows countless stories like this, but here’s what he does with them. He and his colleagues have created what must be one of the most comprehensive school-based trafficking prevention programs in the United States. Maybe in the world.

Tonya Turner

“It’s based on the lived experience of survivors,” his colleague, UNITAS Education & Training Director Tonya Turner explains. Kids relate to what others have gone through, and they learn the tools to recognize the threats and to resist them.

One of the truly impressive approaches UNITAS uses is comics. One of the comics, for example, tells of a high school girl who’s lonely and meets a guy on Instagram who truly “gets” her.  The story is gripping and relatable as you watch her fall in love with the guy.

The guy wants pictures of her naked, and she ends up going along with it. But then she tries to back off and doesn’t want to send him the more revealing pictures he’s demanding. He texts back that if she doesn’t send him even more explicit photos, he’s going to send all the photos she ever sent him to her whole school. “Everyone @ school will see yr a slut with tiny boobs and a fat stomach.”

The entire course is realistic, at times gritty, but the young people who take the course learn enough to be highly vigilant against the traffickers.

Todd Cavaluzzi

UNITAS Executive Director Todd Cavaluzzi has suggestions for things you can do to help prevent trafficking:

  1. The first thing you can do is to learn and spread the word.  
    • Keep seeking out information from reputable sources online like our website (www.unitas.ngo), as well as other organizations like Polaris, ECPAT, and Love146.
    • Then spread the word and help educate others in conversations with family and friends and colleagues to make sure that more and more people know what is going on with this important issue. Here is a link to seven downloadable infographics that help explain human trafficking in the US.  Download them, share them, post them, print them, whatever you need to do to help explain this complex issue to your family, friends, and colleagues.
    • Use this link to our digital comics that you can view and share with your social network. The comics  help make human trafficking easily understood even by kids. The latest installment deals with the issue of sextortion and how kids can get trapped by emailing sexy pictures of themselves to someone they think they know.
  2. The next level you can go to is to donate your time, energy and resources to anti-trafficking organizations that are doing good, smart, work to fight human trafficking.
  3. Finally, you can get involved directly with kids who are at-risk for being trafficked, by becoming a tutor, a mentor, or even a big brother or big sister and just being there for them.

 Visit Unitas at www.unitas.ngohttps://www.linkedin.com/company/unitas-north-america/ or write to Todd Cavaluzzi at: todd@unitas.ngo

Author Mitzi Perdue is a speaker, author, business owner, and organizer of the Global Anti-Trafficking Auction. She is dedicated to helping people learn how to prevent human trafficking.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Trafficking More Prevalent Now?

Joanna RubinsteinJoanna Rubinstein from the World Childhood Foundation knows that child-trafficking is more prevalent now than ever before. She also knows why.

“In the past, a trafficker might be able to find five or six young people who were vulnerable, and it would take weeks or months of grooming to entrap them. Now, with the Internet, the trafficker can be working on a couple of hundred prospective victims at the same time.” 

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Healthcare Provider?  You’re a First Line of Defense

By Mitzi Perdue

 Suzanne Leonard Harrison

This blog post is specifically aimed at healthcare providers, but if that’s not you, chances are you’ll find it important anyway.

Our expert is Suzanne Leonard Harrison, MD, FAAFP, FAMWA, Director of Clinical Programs and Professor of Family Medicine & Rural Health, Florida State University College of Medicine

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High Tech Cyber-Sleuths at Work, Pippa Greenberg

By Mitzi Perdue

Pippa GreenbergYou may know that cyber-sleuths are working to find traffickers.  But have you ever wondered how they do it?

Pippa Greenberg, founder of www.nxtmachine.co is an excellent guide. When she isn’t helping Fortune 200 companies make use of massive amounts of data, she uses her information technology skills to help find sex traffickers and help law enforcement prosecute them.

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How Sex Traffickers Exploit Vulnerabilty and Gaps in the Law

By Mitzi Perdue

Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality NowYasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality Now, has an interesting take on sex trafficking.  Although Harvard-educated, she grew up in Pakistan, and her defining moment came at age 10 when her country’s laws were ‘Islamized.’

She got to see, under the new regime, how women were treated as second-class citizens. The experience was the starting point of her lifelong advocacy for women’s rights.

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