On Contact: The Trial Of Ghislaine Maxwell

On the show this week Chris Hedges talks to investigative journalist Nick Bryant about the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell.

The British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, held at New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center and denied bail, will be tried this fall on sex-trafficking charges for allegedly recruiting and grooming teenage girls to engage in sex acts with the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein. She is reputed to have procured teenage girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004 and allegedly paid the girls hundreds of dollars in cash after each encounter with Epstein. Epstein died in a New York jail cell in August 2019 in what authorities ruled was a suicide, although a doctor hired by Epstein’s family to conduct an independent autopsy has disputed that conclusion.

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Documentary Sheds Light On The Role Of Race In Sex Trafficking

On a clear night in February 2016, a group gathered in downtown Oakland for a candlelight vigil. The attendants were dressed in black; one wore a t-shirt that read “The Black Woman is God.” At the vigil, held in honor of the survivors of human trafficking, people spoke about the trauma held in Black women’s bodies. 

Six miles away, girls strode in stick-thin heels on a strip of International Boulevard in East Oakland known as “the walk” or “the blade,” where hundreds of teenage girls are trafficked each year. Though sex trafficking happens across the country, Oakland has been identified since the early 2000s as a hub for the exploitation of girls; that exploitation is especially visible on the strip. But the vigil called attention to a fact that’s less widely discussed—Black girls are far and away the most common victims. 

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