In the Media

Carol Merchasin discusses sex trafficking laws in the Daily Caller

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Jeffrey Epstein’s associates could be subject to federal criminal prosecutions based on the available evidence, sex trafficking legal experts say. 


Jeffrey Epstein’s associates could face federal criminal prosecutions based on the available evidence, but and building a case against them could take years, sex trafficking legal experts say.


A broad range of activities not typically associated with sex trafficking are covered under sex trafficking statues, according to lawyer and sexual abuse investigator Carol Merchasin.

“By terms of the statute, sex trafficking by fraud, force or coercion does not require the movement of people across borders or state lines, nor does it require cash to change hands,” Merchasin told the Caller.

“Fraudulently inducing someone to have sex in exchange for promises of career advancement could be deemed sex trafficking, and anyone who is a beneficiary of this can be held liable under the statute. So, regardless of what is going on with the federal criminal probe into Epstein’s circle, victims of sex trafficking will be able to bring civil claims against anyone who trafficked them or benefited from that trafficking.”

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of sex trafficking because he made fraudulent promises in return for sex, Merchasin pointed out. “From the perspective of the law itself, this means that a surprisingly broad range of people participate in sex trafficking. In my practice, the traffickers are not criminal gangs or international financiers but gurus, spiritual leaders, or the heads of a religious cult,” Merchasin continued.