Conchita Sarnoff is an investigative journalist and author of the book 'TrafficKing', a harrowing look at the extent of human trafficking, sex slavery and the abuse of power that permeates contemporary society.
Conchita will be appearing at this year's InfoReset seminar series presented by Conscious Events to discuss her work in uncovering traffickers and dismantling systems of injustice that allow them to prevail.
Here, she has kindly given us a deep insight into her work and the integrated network of elite abusers that connects high-level paedophiles and sex offenders such as Jeffrey Epstein with powerful institutions from Hollywood to the White House.
What will you be discussing/ presenting as part of your InfoReset seminar?
[Conchita] We will be talking about human trafficking and my book, 'TrafficKing'. 'TrafficKing' tells the true story of Jeffrey Epstein, a registered sex offender, Wall Street billionaire, paedophile.
The Epstein case is the longest running human trafficking case in US legal history. The case set precedent in the state of Florida and two related cases are pending.
As an investigative journalist, what inconsistencies in the Jeffrey Epstein case led you to pursue the story?
Lack of enforcement of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), lax prosecution, perhaps a compromised prosecution and the number of victims trafficked by the predator who were not allowed to file a criminal or civil suit.
What does the light sentencing of Epstein suggest about how deeply entrenched human sex trafficking is in our society?
During the investigation, it became evident there are two systems of justice in the United States. One for the rich and one for the poor.
It was also made evident that many high-ranking government officials are willing to overlook such a heinous crime if the predator is a generous, political donor.
Lastly, the case underscored the growing and influential network of paedophile protectors in government. According to the latest UN reports there are over 21 million people trafficked worldwide. If half this number is accurate the figure represents a global human trafficking epidemic.
What were the personal risks for pursuing the investigation against bribes and threats of violence to write and publish 'TrafficKing'?
My life was threatened in Mexico while investigating a similar case that led me to the Epstein case. I was then offered a bribe to stop my investigation and not write the book, 'TrafficKing'.
Lastly, 27 publishers turned me down as a result of the political implications and most of the professional doors were closed to me once I broke the story and the first report was published in The Daily Beast (July 2010).
How does the Epstein case and the alleged existence of a global, elite paedophile network tie in with recent revelations about Harvey Weinstein and other high-level power-abusers?
They go hand in hand and it did not surprise me given my research. Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Epstein are friendly. 'I’ll scratch your back while you scratch mine' seems to be the running theme among the elite paedophile network.
According to one of Hollywood’s leading producers, Brett Ratner, Mr Epstein silently financed many Hollywood films. Shortly after Mr. Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment, unethical and at times criminal sexual activities and rape, Mr. Ratner was also accused of sexual molestation.
The subsequent case of Virginia Giuffre was settled out of court last year; would you care to comment on the proceedings and final result?
Virginia L. Roberts’ Giuffre cases (both criminal and civil) are important in many respects.
The civil case filed September 2016, immediately preceding the US presidential campaign, is important because it protected the identities of top government officials implicated in the criminal case.
It also made room for one of the country’s leading attorneys, New York lawyer David Boies, to represent the victim and keep all the 'tell all' documents away from the court of public opinion and media.
The stakes were very high in this particular case with serious, long-term political implications. David Boies is a personal friend and one of President Clinton’s and Secretary Clinton’s attorneys.
Mr. Boies represented Ms. Giuffre pro bono. Ms. Giuffre was the only survivor in the Epstein case thus far to implicate President Clinton in the criminal case. Ms. Giuffre identified President Clinton on Mr. Epstein's jet numerous times and on his private island estate alongside two under-age girls.
Secretary Clinton and President Clinton received political donations from Mr. Epstein even after he was arrested and indicted.
The defendant in the civil case, Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and daughter of the late Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Maxwell is very close to HRH Prince Andrew and many other notable English government opinion leaders and aristocrats. Ms. Maxwell introduced the victim, Ms. Giuffre, to Mr. Epstein, President Clinton and HRH the Duke of York.
As a result of the scandalous implications in the case, it is reasonable to believe Mr. Boies agreed to a settlement at the eleventh hour. The settlement amount although undisclosed offered by Ms. Maxwell (the principal procurer and Mr. Epstein's companion at the time the criminal violations were committed) was most likely paid by Mr. Epstein and no doubt a substantial amount.
Most of the documents in the case of Ms. Giuffre are heavily redacted and/ or sealed. Ms. Giuffre’s case is a perfect example of how a very wealthy paedophile and his principal conspirators and procurers can 'get away with murder' in the United States if you have the money to afford the top attorneys with influential relationships across the bench.
Clearly Mr. Epstein and his procurers fall on the side of justice for the rich.
Lastly, transnational criminal organisations and rich and influential paedophiles and their primary procurers usually have the resources to successfully manipulate the system, influence the victims not to testify against them, stage-manage law enforcement officials and undermine their victim's attorneys.
As the old adage goes: 'If the money is right anything goes.'
Do you believe the trafficking and exploitation of children can ever be stopped for good?
I am hopeful but not certain. Light always removes darkness. In order to stop human trafficking and the exploitation of women, children and adults it will take a titanic effort, alliances, government partnerships and plentiful resources across the various stakeholders.
The key players that can help put an end to trafficking include: civil society, academia, law enforcement, the criminal justice system, banking system including the Federal Reserve of the United States, and NGO service providers working on the three pillars of human trafficking: prevention, protection and prosecution.
Having worked in the field of human trafficking since 2006, I have witnessed more than I should have over a 12-year span.
In my capacity as an advocate for victims, I fear that as long as demand exists, powerful paedophiles with resources to influence corrupt politicians and law enforcement officials, coupled with a divided system of justice — one for the rich and one for the poor - and weak prosecutorial enforcement policies on the state and federal levels, human trafficking will continue.
Government must step up its role and invest in education, prevention, training, protection, prosecution and enforcement.
What role does Australia play in helping to stem the tide of human trafficking?
My understanding is that human trafficking is also illegal under Divisions 270 and 271 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act of 1995. The most recent reports claim that between 500 and 1,000 persons are trafficked annually in Australia. I am not certain the figures are accurate.
Because Australia like the United States does not have a central depository or a metric in place, it is difficult to cull accurate statistics.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) included Australia as one of the highest trafficking destinations in the world. However, the US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons rated Australia as a Tier 1 country (2017) in their annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.
Tier 1 countries are identified as 'countries whose governments meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards'.
Given the geographic density and size of Australia, the government should foster and give way to civil society, law enforcement, the banking system, academia, NGO’s and other regulating bodies and partnerships to form in order to create strategic alliances that will end human trafficking.
You are also the Executive Director of Alliance to Rescue Victims of Trafficking; can you tell us about the work you and your organisation do?
I wear several hats not just that of executive director of atrvt.org.
I am a professor at American University in Washington D.C. where I teach a graduate course: Human Trafficking in Global Society. I am on the cusp of beginning to write book two about the Weinstein/ Epstein relationship. The powerful who protect powerful predators and the final outcome of Mr. Epstein’s two cases.
As director of Alliance to Rescue Victims of Trafficking my goal is to ensure that our organisation and our members work together to accomplish our mission:
1. Open a safe house (we are currently in talks with an existing safe house) in Washington D.C. and then elsewhere.
2. Continue to raise awareness of human trafficking.
3. Educate as many stakeholders as possible to put an end to human trafficking. Thank you for your interest in our work and this important cause.
Conchita will be joined by John Perkins (click here to read our Q&A with John) and Sean Stone (click here to read our Q&A with Sean) at the Conscious Events seminar InfoReset series; dates below.
Sat 24 Feb - Darling Harbor Theatre (Sydney)
Conscious Events InfoReset Seminars Tour Dates
Sun 4 Mar - Crown Convention Centre (Perth)
Sat 10 Mar - Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
Sat 17 Mar - Chandler Theatre at Sleeman Centre (Brisbane)