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#sextrafficking | Ghislaine Maxwell seeks to keep Jeffrey Epstein court records under seal – NewsRadio 560 KPQ | #tinder | #pof | #match | romancescams | #scams

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Attorneys for Ghislaine Maxwell, the former companion of deceased sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, are asking a federal judge to keep a batch of court records under seal, arguing that public interest in the documents is outweighed by privacy considerations and the potential impact a release of the documents could have on an ongoing criminal investigation into alleged accomplices of Epstein.

“Ms. Maxwell … is aware that investigations surrounding the alleged conduct of Mr. Epstein survive his death. It is unclear who are witnesses or targets of any investigation,” Maxwell’s attorney, Jeffrey Pagliuca, wrote Wednesday in a filing objecting to unsealing certain documents. “The sealed testimony or summaries may inappropriately influence potential witnesses or alleged victims.”

The sealed court filings in the case — a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit filed against Maxwell in 2015 by Virginia Roberts Giuffre — are said to contain the names of hundreds of people, some famous and some not, who socialized, traveled or worked with Epstein over the span of more than a decade. The late financier has previously been linked to a coterie of high-profile business leaders, scientists, royalty and politicians.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was found dead in an apparent suicide in prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges that he denied.

Among the records now being considered for release is a 418-page transcript of one of Maxwell’s multi-hour depositions in the case, which Maxwell’s attorneys argue were given under an expectation of confidentiality that had been agreed to by both sides in the dispute, according to Maxwell’s court filing.

“This series of pleadings concerns [Giuffre’s] attempt to compel Ms. Maxwell to answer intrusive questions about her sex life,” Pagliuca wrote. “The subject matter of these [documents] is extremely personal, confidential, and subject to considerable abuse by the media.”

The collection of documents now being reviewed for potential release by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska represents just a small subset of the thousands of pages of documents that must be reviewed for potential release, a process that could drag on for many months.

Giuffre has accused Maxwell of facilitating and participating in Epstein’s abuse of minor girls. Maxwell has denied Giuffre’s allegations. When the defamation case was settled in 2017, a substantial portion of the court docket remained sealed or redacted. The sealed records include the identities of people who provided information in the case under an expectation of confidentiality, plus the names of alleged victims and individuals accused of enabling Epstein or participating in the abuse.

Maxwell attorneys argue that the bulk of the sealed documents and exhibits should stay sealed, contending that they “were gratuitous and served no legitimate purpose” when they were submitted by Giuffre’s attorneys and because many of the documents contain the names of dozens of non-parties who have yet to receive notice that the records could be made public.

An attorney for Giuffre did not respond to a request for comment on Maxwell’s court filing.

Giuffre, now a 36-year-old mother living in Australia, alleges she was sexually abused as a teenager by Epstein and Maxwell between 2000 and 2002. She also claims to have been directed to have sex with some of their prominent friends, including Britain’s Prince Andrew. She filed the action against Maxwell in September 2015, alleging that the former British socialite defamed her when her publicist issued a statement referring to Giuffre’s allegations as “obvious lies.”

For the next year and a half, attorneys for the two women engaged in an acrimonious duel of pre-trial arguments, much of which took shape in heavily redacted or sealed court filings. The case settled just before a trial was set to begin in May 2017. A year later, the Miami Herald newspaper filed an ultimately successful motion to unseal at least some portions of the undisclosed record of the case.

Lawyers representing Giuffre, Maxwell, the Herald, and an anonymous individual who intervened to assert privacy interests, have been haggling for the last several months over their favored approaches to unsealing the records. The arguments over the protocols alone amounted to more than 50 additional entries on the court docket before Judge Preska arrived at the final procedure.

Earlier this month, notification letters were sent to two “John Does,” anonymous individuals whose names are among several dozen that appear in just the first batch of sealed and redacted documents currently under review by Preska, according to court records. Neither of those individuals responded to the letters, according to Maxwell’s court filing.

Giuffre has advocated for near-total disclosure of the records, while Maxwell and attorneys for the intervening individual have urged Preska to carefully balance the intense public interest in the case against potentially “life-changing” reputational damage that could befall those whose names are made public. Because the parties reached a confidential settlement, the allegations leveled in the dispute are unproven, having never been tested by an independent trier of fact.

Previously unsealed records from the case have already generated headlines around the world after a federal appeals court released more than 2,000 pages of documents last August, a month after Epstein’s arrest by federal authorities in New York.

Included in that collection were excerpts from Giuffre’s depositions naming several prominent men she alleges Epstein and Maxwell directed her to have sex with, including Prince Andrew, attorney Alan Dershowitz, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. All of those men, and others accused by Giuffre, have denied the allegations.

“The documents and exhibits should be carefully examined for the vivid, detailed and tragic story they tell in the face of cursory, bumper sticker-like statements by those accused,” Giuffre’s attorney, Sigrid McCawley, wrote in a statement on the day of the documents’ release. “Virginia Roberts Giuffre is a survivor and a woman to be believed. She believes a reckoning of inevitable accountability has begun.”

The morning after that first set of documents was made public, Epstein was found unresponsive in his jail cell in Manhattan, where he was being held pending trial on charges of child sex-trafficking and conspiracy.

Maxwell, 58, is the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 in what was ruled an accidental drowning off the coast of the Canary Islands. She met Epstein in New York following her father’s death, and the two were closely linked for more than a decade. Sources tell ABC News that Maxwell remains under criminal investigation by federal authorities in New York, who have vowed to hold responsible any alleged co-conspirators in Epstein’s sex trafficking conspiracy.

In previously unsealed excerpts from her depositions in the case, Maxwell derided Giuffre as an “absolute liar.” She has also denied allegations from Giuffre and other women who contend in court filings that Maxwell recruited and trained girls and young women for Epstein and facilitated their abuse.

“She absolutely denies that she participated in this or any other sexual abuse or trafficking or assault, and no court, judge or jury has ever determined that she has,” an attorney for Maxwell wrote last month in a related case.

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#sextrafficking | Covid-19 has increased children’s exposure to traffickers | #tinder | #pof | #match | romancescams | #scams

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Crime & Justice, Health, Human Rights

Families, communities and policymakers must now work in tandem to eliminate this life-scarring menace

Jun 11 2020 – With Covid-19 bringing economic activities across nations to a halt, more and more people are being pushed into poverty. Job losses, business losses and farming losses, leading to economic stress, are pushing many to the fringes of poverty. And as families are being rendered helpless, the worst sufferers are invariably the children.

“46 percent children suffer from multidimensional poverty,” suggests a report shared recently by Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS). And in the face of the growing economic hardships of the people, triggered by Covid-19, the number is likely to shoot up in the coming months.

From increased threats of modern slavery—domestic servitude, sex trafficking, and forced labour, such as begging—and reduced access to nutrition, basic healthcare facilities and education, to increased risk of emotional abuse and mental trauma, children today, especially the ones born into poverty, are at greater risk of exploitation.

According to Unicef, “The economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic could push up to 86 million more children into household poverty by the end of 2020.”

Save the Children and Unicef suggest that, “Immediate loss of income means families are less able to afford the basics, including food and water, less likely to access health care or education, and more at risk of child marriage, violence, exploitation and abuse. When fiscal contraction occurs, the reach and quality of the services families depend on can also be diminished.”

And with more and more people becoming jobless, chances of families abandoning their children, or using them to earn money is increasing by the day. According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report, “due to the pandemic, more children are being forced onto the streets to search for food and money, thus increasing their risk of exploitation.”

And more concerning are the lurking threats of the different ways in which children, in the wake of Covid-19 are being forced into sexual exploitation. For one, families in this part of the world, unable to feed “extra mouths”, often marry off their girls at an early age. Sometimes even in exchange for money. These little girls are subjected to marital rape by their husbands, and more often than not, suffer severe reproductive health damages due to the burden of early motherhood.

And if the girls are not so lucky, they are sold to traffickers by their husbands for money. Sometimes, in fact, predators marry young girls to be able to sell them for good money into sex slavery. While writing a detailed piece on this issue last year, I found that at times of desperation, the families themselves sell girls into prostitution. There have been cases where young sex workers had claimed that they had been sold to dalals by their own mothers.

Young boys face a different kind of fate. They are sent away to work in the informal sector to earn money for their families. And some of these young boys are preyed upon by predators for trafficking as slaves and sometimes into male prostitution.

According to a 2014 report by The Scelles Foundation, 42 million worldwide were involved in sex slavery. Of them, about eight million were men—it is not just women who are at the risk of being trafficked into sexual slavery. Male prostitution remains a less discussed issue, which is why when referring to sex slavery, the dialogues mostly centre around girls. But young boys do get raped and the possibility of them being forced into prostitution cannot be ignored.

And the children who have been sent out of the house to earn their living as beggars live with the constant threat of being exploited by their ring leaders. These girls and boys are not only taken advantage of by their employers but are also at times abused by the people giving them alms. I was once horrified when I saw a driver holding on to a semi-clothed girl’s hand while giving her alms. The girl—not knowing that it is not right for someone to touch her without her permission—was just happy that she got a note! Next time on the road, take a careful look, and the abuse of these children will become apparent.

But with Covid-19, you would think the demand for prostitution would have taken a hit, but you’d be wrong. The risk remains: according to Mama Fatima Singhateh, Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Covid-19 lockdown has resulted in people finding newer ways of availing prostitution services—through “delivery” or “drive-through”. According to Singhateh, people’s tendency to access illegal websites featuring child pornography has also increased— “Producing and accessing child sexual abuse material and live-stream child sexual abuse online has now become an easy alternative to groom and lure children into sexual activities and to trade images in online communities.”

A report published by the Council on Foreign Relations echoes the same fear— “While the current drop in global demand might temporarily disrupt exploitative circumstances, this effect is likely short-lived and eclipsed by increased vulnerability. Within sex trafficking, for example, the demand for commercial sex has dropped due to social distancing regulations. However, there is evidence that online sexual exploitation of children is on the rise, indicating that perpetrators are adapting in response to the environment.”

And this brings into the picture a new set of prey: children from middle-income to higher-income families who have access to the internet. These children, for whom the internet is the only means of staying connected with their friends and teachers, are at risk of being preyed upon by malicious traffickers.

And stuck at home, detached from the life they used to live, these children—according to Kazi Amdadul Hoque, Director-Strategic Planning and Head of Climate Action, Friendship, an international NGO—face a different kind of trauma. The fear of uncertainty, the fear of contagion and the depression from the lack of access to friends and outdoor activities make these children especially vulnerable to predators.

Child psychologist Tarana Anis suggests that now more than ever, parents and families have to be vigilant about the kind of online content their children are being exposed to, who their children are interacting with online, and which website they are accessing frequently. She suggests that families should engage in more shared activities and open discussions about current issues with their children.

This is certainly one way of tackling this problem. But we must keep in mind that the threat of physically trafficking children and selling them into prostitution or forced labour remains. Maybe there has been a decline in demand now, but it is only temporary. With the state’s resources already stretched fighting Covid-19, the government will find it difficult to fight off these other diseases, but this one definitely needs attention.

The government, along with bringing the poor under social safety schemes, must also mobilise the law enforcement agencies to strictly monitor the trafficking situation in the country. And families should spend more time with children and educate them about the risks that they might face online. The communities must look out for each, support each other and report suspicious activities. It is time we start looking out for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, and report the wrongs to the concerned authorities, for the greater good of our children.

Tasneem Tayeb is a columnist for The Daily Star.
Her Twitter handle is: @TayebTasneem

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

 

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#sextrafficking | Advocates say youth shelter in Truro would protect teens from human trafficking | #tinder | #pof | #match | romancescams | #scams

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The recent case of a man who was unlawfully at large in the Truro, N.S., area and allegedly committed dozens of sex and drug trafficking crimes against children shows the need for a local youth shelter is dire, says a youth advocate.

Michelle Rafuse, a volunteer who supports First Nations youth in court, said a shelter for young people would help prevent at-risk youth from becoming victims of violence and sexual exploitation.

“There’s no place for kids to go in Truro if they need a place to stay,” said Rafuse, who often allows homeless kids to stay at her own home.

“If they have no place to go, they end up in circumstances where they could get led down a path they don’t want to be on.”

Truro and the surrounding Colchester County do not have a youth shelter. The counties of Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne, Pictou and Halifax all have youth shelters serving their areas.

Youth shelters are usually run by not-for-profit groups and are aimed at ending homelessness for people aged 16 to 24. The youth stay for several months and receive connections and support to help them get their lives on track.

Morgan MacDonald, 31, was living in Truro and unlawfully at large during the time he is alleged to have committed dozens of sex and drug trafficking crimes against children. He communicated over Facebook using the name Kaycee MacDonald, victims say. (CBC)

CBC News spoke to a 22-year-old Indigenous man who said he spent the last several years homeless in Truro. He said he used to walk around the town at night messaging friends and asking for a place to stay, often crashing at the homes of friends on their laundry room floors. If he couldn’t find a place to stay, he kept walking.

“It was weird sleeping outside, so I just stayed awake,” said the young man, who recently found housing because a member of the community offered up her home. “There’s a lot of people in the same boat. There’s a pretty big need for it.”

CBC News is not identifying the man because he has been a participant in the youth criminal justice system, involved in break and enters, which he said he did to get money to support himself. He said he wouldn’t have committed those crimes had he not been so desperate and had a safe home.

He said his troubles started in his teens when his relationship with his father turned volatile. Upset about the fighting, he failed to turn up at his job baking cookies and bread at a local bakery. After losing the job, he said he was kicked out of the house because he could no longer pay the rent.

Truro has emergency shelter, but it’s not just for youth

Truro has a youth centre, which has been closed due to COVID-19, but it’s only open during the day. There is also an overnight emergency shelter open to youth over the age of 16.

Truro, with its population of 12,500 is a hub town, a crossroads where the Trans-Canada Highway joins from three different directions. The town is next door to the Millbrook First Nation, a Mi’kmaw community with many members living off-reserve. 

A 2018 Statistics Canada study found Nova Scotia had the highest rate of human trafficking in the country in 2016.

Joe Pinto, a local developer and businessman, said he’s noticed the growing issue of youth homelessness in Truro.

“There seems to be a lot of kids that the parents are not available to look after them or they’re just on the street, couch-surfing, going from place to place. I feel that there’s a need to house them and give them a bit of guidance,” he said. 

Pinto said he has space available in downtown Truro for a youth shelter if a community group is interested.

Social services and housing are provincial responsibilities. In a joint statement, the Department of Community Services and the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing described having a place to live as an important piece of the complex problem of human trafficking.

To propose a youth shelter for the town, a community group would first have to submit a proposal, which could include a request for funding, to Nova Scotia’s Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing. So far, no such proposal has come forward.

What the province says it’s doing

The Nova Scotia government earmarked $1.4 million in new funding to combat human trafficking, some of which is trickling down to Truro. In the town, there is one housing support worker and a trustee who can help at-risk youth find secure, stable housing. The province said rent subsidies are available and the Truro Homeless Outreach Society can also connect people to safe and affordable housing.

Truro Mayor Bill Mills said he’s open to the idea of a youth shelter, but it’s going to be a tough sell right now to get funding from the municipality because everyone is being stretched.

“On the surface, if we could pull this off and have a youth shelter and the right people in place… sure, why not,” he said, adding that a letter to council would be the first step.

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Children Recovered In N.J. Sex-Trafficking Crackdown

The FBI has recovered children and busted at least two pimps in a statewide child-sex trafficking crackdown, according to authorities.

“Operation Cross Country,” a nationwide law enforcement action that took place last week and focused on underage victims of prostitution, has concluded with the recovery of 149 sexually exploited children and the arrests of more than 150 pimps and other individuals, according to the FBI.

FBI officials said in a release that agents in New Jersey recovered six underage victims of human trafficking and arrested two pimps in Newark, Atlantic City and elsewhere. Twenty-one adults allegedly participating in prostitution were arrested.

No specific information on the victims and suspects was provided.

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