I have been following the trial of British Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and longtime associate. Epstein was a wealthy American arrested for sex trafficking of minors but was never tried or convicted because he was found dead in his jail cell.
After his death, Ghislaine was arrested on multiple criminal charges related to the sex trafficking of minors and sexual abuse of young women and girls due to the testimony of four female victims. It is alleged Ghislaine groomed minor girls as young as 14 years of age for Epstein’s intentional and premeditated abuse. Child “grooming” is when an adult befriends and establishes an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family, to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. In opening statements of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, prosecutors said both Maxwell and Epstein created a "pyramid scheme of abuse" to lure underage girls into sexual relationships with Epstein. This sounds like a movie script, doesn’t it? But it is not. This is news in our country. Sadly, the details of this trial are not “news” to me. I am just thrilled it is finally making the news. Over the past 14 years, I have heard similar accounts from victims in which they were pursued by an adult they were emotionally and physically connected to… sometimes their own family members. Like the victims of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, they weren’t kidnapped – they were lured with promises by people they wanted to trust and believe in. This is the cruelest of the cruel. To be betrayed when you are vulnerable. To be shamed when you are trusting. To be hurt by adults who should have protected you.
And now those courageous young women are speaking up.
I have paid particular attention to the victim accounts. They resonate with me.
One of the victims testified "I have a huge amount of humiliation and shame around the events that took place."
Humiliation and shame. Sadly, those are frequent descriptions I hear from those who have been victims of this insidious crime. Humiliation and shame paralyze you until someone believes you and believes in you.
That is what we do at Courage Worldwide. We believe in them until they can believe in themselves.
God didn’t call me to fight sex trafficking. He called me to equip, encourage and empower individuals to discover their true identity and fulfill their unique destiny. He called me to build them homes and call them family. During the past 14 years, God deposited in my heart a mother’s love for these young ones as well as a mother’s righteous anger for all that has been done to them. I also feel a mother’s desperate desire for them to be and do all they were created to. I believe in them and their future. “Blessed is she who believed that what the Lord said to her will be accomplished” (Luke 1:45). This verse is from the Christmas Story in the Bible. Mary was blessed because she believed. I too have been blessed because I believe. I believe girls who were once sold for sex, exploited for the profit and pleasure of another, will rise up and speak their truth. I believe that building them homes and calling them family will in time give them the ability to believe in others and themselves. I believe an education in a healing environment will give them future opportunities they never imagined. I believe they can heal from the trauma they experienced given the tools and the time.
I not only have believed… I have seen.
But we can’t stop. We can’t give up. We must keep expanding and building and providing more safe homes and resources for these vulnerable children and young women. Follow the news. Read about the effects and impact this crime has on our youth. Educate yourself and then do something! We at Courage Worldwide invite you to believe with us and to support our mission to bring more daughters home – to love them and believe in them until they believe in themselves! Donate now to receive your tax deductible donation.
Merry Christmas and happy, happy New Year!
P.P.S. Download our latest 5 Year Impact Report here: CWW Impact Report