Mar 4, 2019
Palm Beach, Florida has been a playground for the wealthy elite for more than 100 years. Trump’s “Winter White House” Mar-a-Lago is there. It is the richest city in the U.S. in terms of “passive income.” Most of the income of residents comes from dividends, interest, rent, royalties and distributions from trust funds.
A scandal in Palm Beach made the national news. The owner of the New England Patriots football team, Robert Kraft, got charged with soliciting a prostitute at a day spa. Among the hundreds of men who ended up with charges was also John Havens, a former president of Citigroup, and John Childs, the founder of a private equity firm.
What has not gotten attention is the hideous abuse of immigrant women who “worked” at this “spa.” The accurate description is that the women were victims of sex trafficking. Women were held captive and crowded into a small space. Most were working off debt they “owed” and were not paid. Their passports had been taken from them.
One woman explained that she had been brought to the U.S. from China by promises of a good job at a nail salon. She ended up the victim of sex traffickers. An investigator said, “I would never consider them prostitutes – it was really a rescue operation.”
Formal charges were not trafficking because victims must be willing to testify in court. One of the women stated why she would not do so by explaining she has relatives in China who would be in jeopardy if she cooperated. Sex trafficking is organized by criminal gangs who keep women quiet with threats to harm family members back home.
Human trafficking – forcing adults and children into sex slavery and labor slavery – is estimated to have hundreds of thousands of victims in the U.S. today. This estimate comes from Polaris, a nonprofit group that operates a national 24/7 help line.
In the end, these wealthy men charged in this round-up will get a slap on the wrist. They will have the best lawyers money can buy. Their lawyers will say that the men didn’t know. How could they not know? The complete powerlessness of the women was what the men enjoyed!
In this Palm Beach area of glitz and glamour, what was happening was not prostitution but ugly sex slavery!