Sex trafficking is making national headlines as financier Jeffrey Epstein faces new charges.
“What I want to communicate is that traffickers come in many different forms, they don’t have one face,” Executive Director of Call to Freedom, Becky Rasmussen said.
In 2008, Jeffrey Epstein served 13 months in jail and registered as a sex offender after being accused of abusing more than two dozen girls. That sentence came from a controversial plea deal with then U.S. attorney Alex Acosta.
“We did what we did because we wanted to see Epstein go to jail,” Labor Secretary Alex Acosta said
Eleven years later, Epstein faces new charges of sex trafficking.
Becky Rasmussen with Call To Freedom hopes this time he receives a harsher sentence.
“This is an opportunity to make a statement. Human trafficking is hidden in plain sight. We don’t see it, but it’s happening within our communities and if we don’t talk about it and we don’t make an example of prosecuting these to the fullest extent, basically what we’re going to find is all of these people still doing it and not having accountability. So I think accountability is extremely important. I think prosecuting it to the fullest extent possible,” Rasmussen said.
The Epstein story may be unfolding in another part of the country, but Rasmussen says the issue at the center of the case is something we all need to pay attention to.
“A lot of people think that human trafficking is not happening in communities. Actually there’s a stat with Polaris, which is our national human trafficking hotline, that they’ve gotten a report within every county within the United States,” Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen says community members play a big role in reporting cases of sex trafficking.
She says if you see signs of trafficking or abuse in your neighborhood, you can anonymously report it through Crime Stoppers.