Less than a year ago, it was impossible to go a day without hearing Jeffrey Epstein’s name. After his arrest on July 6th, 2019, on federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York, his whole world of unlawful debauchery was exposed. On August 10th, Epstein was “found dead” in his cell, but the damage he caused had far from vanished and authorities were compelled to shift their focus onto his alleged accomplices.
As victims of Epstein’s heinous crimes continued speaking out, it became clear that there were many more involved in his perverted web, including Ghislaine Maxwell, his partner and assistant. Earlier this month after having been in hiding, Maxwell was arrested by the FBI on charges related to Epstein.
What part did Ghislaine Maxwell play in Epstein’s sick world of sex, manipulation and money? And in the wake of her arrest, how will victims of Epstein achieve justice?
Ghislaine Maxwell was born with entitlement in her blood, child to British media proprietor Robert Maxwell, and their wealth was all-consuming. Following her father’s death, family wealth, status and influence began to drain, and Maxwell found a replacement in her relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. While their relationship was initially romantic, she soon evolved into something more like a companion and personal assistant, and Maxwell rediscovered her power and influence in far darker ways than you’d imagine.
Multiple women have accused Maxwell of being much more than the poor, clueless partner of the disgraced Epstein. She has been accused of being Epstein’s “primary co-conspirator” and “madame” whose job it was to recruit young women into his world to fulfil the desires of him and other powerful men. It has been discovered that she made initial contact with Epstein’s victims, enticing them under the guise of modelling contracts and other jobs, to engage in illegal sex acts, not only with Epstein but a number of powerful men.
One of Maxwell and Epstein’s victims was Virginia Giuffre. Maxwell approached Giuffre at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where she was working and offered her a job. Court documents detail that Epstein, “with the assistance of” Ms Maxwell, then “converted Giuffre into a sex slave” for almost four years. In an interview with the Miami Herald, Ms Giuffre said the training started immediately:
“It was everything down to how to give a blowjob, how to be quiet, be subservient, give Jeffrey what he wants.”
Along with Giuffe, another victim, Joanna Sjoberg, testified that Maxwell approached her while she was on campus at Palm Beach Atlantic College in 2001. Sjoberg said that Maxwell recruited her under the pretence of a job of answering phones, but it wasn’t long before she was instructed to learn massage for Epstein and other men.
Giuffe and Sjoberg’s stories are devastating and have created the pain that they continue to feel today. However, Maxwell’s grooming of these young women is just a tiny aspect of her involvement Epstein’s in sexual crimes. Maxwell has been charged with a 17-page indictment with conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and perjury.
If convicted, Maxwell faces up to 35 years in federal prison. She has pleaded not guilty and claimed that her victims’ claims are defamatory. However, it is predicted that she will soon come undone and spill the truth, not only about herself but also about the plethora of powerful men that took advantage of her crimes.
And of course, if you haven’t heard already, this includes Prince Andrew. Giuffre stated in court documents that she was “forced to have sexual relations” with Prince Andrew when she was 17 in Maxwell’s London apartment. She also said Ms Maxwell “facilitated” this encounter “by acting as a ‘madame’ for Epstein”. It is also known that Prince Andrew made multiple visits to Epstein’s private Caribbean island, where Epstein was flying underage girls to engage in sexual acts.
Ever since Epstein’s death, the FBI have scrambled to work out who else was involved in the devastating crimes against upwards of 50 young females. While Maxwell’s arrest brings Epstein’s victim’s one step closer to justice, it appears that the power and status of many who were involved means that that the entire truth may never be uncovered. As the evidence of Prince Andrew’s wrongdoings has loomed over the Epstein case for many years, it does leave us wondering, even if we do discover the truth, will those involved get the punishment they truly deserve?