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Ghislane Maxwell, “Mother-Sister,” the Most Cunning Sex Trafficker

By January 7, 2022February 20th, 2024Sex Trafficking

Ghislane is her name, pronounced with a silent sGih-LANE—and sex-trafficking girls was her game. Insiders say the devil wore Parisian designers, had a driver, a Yorkie named Max (she reportedly once threw violently across a room, laughing) and a fetish for wearing eye masks when sleeping, usually with her late serial sex offender/ boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein hanged himself in his prison cell awaiting trial.

For 25 years the two cultivated a love-affair-slash-lavish-sex-trafficking empire immune to international reproach because the machine delved into the psyches of its victims to ensure every transaction remained secret. Further, many of its elite clients ruled the world.

At her December trial in Manhattan, Maxwell’s prosecution early brought out the famous Black Book belonging to her and Epstein, including the names Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, MBS and untold global A-listers who went to great lengths for the experience of sexing a minor.  

Sex traffickers target prey who are desperate for money, drugs, or a dream, but more desperate for something money can’t buy: the feeling they belong. This condition plagues a large percentage of U.S. females under age 18.

Girls who are empowered are very difficult to traffic.

Victims don’t have to be on the street to feel destitute. There are no stereotypes for destitution, either. Among Epstein’s prey were models, actresses, a would-be fashion designer, and a Scottish heiress whose grandfather stopped paying. In America there are more sex trafficking points of purchase than Starbucks, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). 

Recruiting and manipulating choice young faces and bodies to voluntarily perform acts of prostitution and keep quiet would require nothing short of mythic influence: Maxwell had it. She embodied all seven influential female “archetypes” in one: mother, sister, queen, huntress, sage, mystic, and lover. Turning them on and off like switches made her a monster. Such power could sway a pretty teenage drug addict licking ice cream on the beach.

This is how years of Epstein abuse began for “Carolyn,” an accuser who testified in Maxwell’s trial. Carolyn was a middle school dropout who had been sexually abused by her grandfather at age four and was addicted to cocaine. She was 14 when a beautiful woman invited her on a little drive to meet a wealthy man for $300 cash.

Carolyn wanted money for her next fix. So she rode in the fancy car to a Palm Beach mansion and was led upstairs to a room with a massage table where Epstein was having sex with another woman on the table. The first time she watched. Downstairs, Maxwell handed her $300 cash on the way out through the kitchen.

Many traffickers resort to violence, but Epstein and Maxwell used threats and tracking devices, island imprisonment, conditioning and trauma bonding. The higher the stakes, the bigger the business. ILO statistics say global illegal profits from sex trafficking total $150 billion per year: 99% of victims are female and one in four is a child.

Trafficking is about luring humans into slavery for sport. At first Maxwell behaved as a mother-sister, luring, grooming, and normalizing (sometimes participating in) bizarre obscenities with Epstein, coaxing girls with unripe breasts into sensual cooperation in exchange for what? She pretended to love them, then betrayed them when they were too dependent to find the door.

In a city jail awaiting trial, Maxwell complained repeatedly that no one would give her an eye mask. After five felony jury convictions, she is headed for a prison where she may serve out the rest of her life without trappings. She turned 60 on Christmas Day. Her most serious conviction carries a sentence of 40 years.

National Human Trafficking Awareness is January 11. The International Labor Organization (ILO) says hundreds of thousands of victims are hidden everywhere in the U.S. in plain sight. Only 1% get away, leaving the other 99% treading for survival. Few support systems are in place to help the 1% who are faced not only with restoring their bodies but reconnecting with safer communities and salvaging their souls.

Make wrongdoers pay: Civil litigation may be the only way survivors of sex trafficking can get back their power, confront the those responsible for financial restitution, and find a more promising path to start over.

A Case for Women takes an in-depth look at sex trafficking and shows how we can help victims survive not just intact—but strong. Spreading first-hand knowledge is the most powerful weapon. We can all help stop this hidden evil by learning how to spot a sex trafficking survivor.

Watch for anyone:

  • being accompanied by another person (man or woman) who appears controlling and does all the talking
  • showing signs of physical or emotional abuse
  • appearing fearful or submissive
  • carrying no identification
  • communicating with difficulty because of language barriers

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
Rescue America: 1-713-322-8000