In that it's extremely common. In the gritty real world, people know of such guys and what they do. Many have personality men such gentlemen and their entourages (of course most not at the level of Epstein, but frequent some circles in Eastern Europe, Russia, Paris, London, Italy, etc, and you'll meet such guys, no doubt in Asia and L. America too), and know what "assistants" who look like models and are from Eastern Europe sum up to...
Of course it won't be as evident to someone in rural Iowa, or growing up in the boy scouts, they'd need to have things spelt out for them...
>Would somebody who is trafficking women really take them everywhere he goes? I thought it would be more of a secret affair.
At such meetings like at MIT usually no.
But shady rich guys with political/drug/mafia/trafficking connections take their women (even underage or barely legal) all around, in restaurants, boats, nightclubs, business deals, parties, etc. And not just criminal/underworld types: this even includes world leaders, like Berlusconi, all kinds of royalty, rich moguls, etc...
In some countries you can't throw a rock in a public event without hitting one such...
I wouldn't consider it overly weird if rich guys have young girl-friends. Maybe it is just because Hollywood has groomed me to expect it, I don't know.
Well, that pretty much sums up what Epstein did.
You don't even need to burn passports, you can psychologically manipulate, threaten, beat up, hook on drugs, pass to friends, parade your powerful connections (event to the law), explain how they have no alternatives, and so on.
Especially if you're a ultra-rich mogul with personal guards and powerful friends, and they're some teenage girl from some poor eastern european family that you promise money or to get "exposure", and so on...
"(...) The girls he allegedly abused were largely from troubled backgrounds, either in the foster care system, from broken families, or below the poverty line".
-- and as young as 14 year old, at that. Does "convince" really apply?
>Did he actually do all those other things, beatings, threatening?
(...) Multiple women say they attempted to refuse Epstein, but to no avail.
“I was terrified and I was telling him to stop,” said Araoz, recounting one visit during which Epstein raped her.
“If I left Epstein … he could have had me killed or abducted, and I always knew he was capable of that if I did not obey him,” another alleged victim, Virginia Roberts, said during a hearing.
14 year olds, too - but those "assistants" presumably were older.
Threats - threats are threats, going beyond "manipulation".
I'm struggling to understand your motivations. This should be a clear and obvious case of someone who was really fucked up, did fucked up things, and deserves nobody in polite society defending him.
And yet here we are having this discussion, somehow.
I asked a question about a paragraph describing a scene of a guy visiting MIT Media Lab with young assistants (not teens, they were described s young women), and Media lab staff being concerned.
I did not have the context of Epstein already being convicted as a sex offender.
There was nothing in that paragraph about Epstein having sex with teens, and I didn't mention that, either.
I am merely of the opinion that in general, young women from Eastern Europe should also be allowed to work as assistants for old men. That doesn't imply I endorse older men taking advantage of teens.
You can't remove this question from its context. The people at MIT Media Lab who were worried about it certainly were aware of the context, and they were worried, but ultimately forced to go along with it because their boss wanted the money too badly.
Also, enough with the "just asking questions". Instead of asking lots of questions, just go read the relevant articles and learn the truths directly, rather than requiring people to spoonfeed you through HN comments.
Epstein had sex with girls younger than 18.
But was is against their will?
Epstein is dead, so he does not care if anybody defends him. But if we want to understand how Epstein operated, we should question the accusations.
However, here I didn't even talk about his sex exploits. I only asked about a paragraph about perceiving a man with young assistants.
How do you tell the difference between the sex-trafficked, forced-into-servitude eastern european model-assistants, and the eastern european models who see an opportunity to make a lot of money and a lot of connections, and take it?
The people who are blind to it are probably willfully blind, not naive. (Excepting young children of course.)
Otherwise, please explain what special powers old rich men would have over young women.
The power that comes from being rich, well connected, parading powerful friends (even judges, politicians, financiers, and so on), aides, bodyguards, the means to have them beaten or killed if you want to, and so on? The power to get them fired from their jobs? The powerful to do "Eyes Wide Shut" level shit to them and them knowing it?
Or you expected some magical power that applies to every old rich person in any situation between them and a young woman?
Sorry, that seems extremely unlikely. I find it shocking that you think that way.
Just because somebody is rich also doesn't mean they can simply destroy other people's lives at will.
Btw I have personally witnessed for example young women courting old professors, who certainly didn't have any power to destroy their life. They did have some power to further their career, though.
Expect: yes, I think in most cases it is simply that the young women expect some advantage from the rich guy. Maybe just material things, or maybe just more fun. Maybe they enjoy riding on yachts more than riding on skateboards, or whatever.
I have seen many young women court older men for various reasons.
The term sugar daddy comes to mind.
One can question the basis of such relationships, but I think it's a huge stretch to suggest they always arise out of force or coercion.
You seem to be repeatedly ignoring the context of Epstein's criminal conviction.
Inadvertently I’m sure, your and some other people’s posts here come across as normalising the outward behaviour of Epstein and people like him. But the behaviour of Epstein in particular is not normalisable. The women concerned about the status of the girls Epstein took with him weren’t faced with ‘a rich guy with some young girls’. They were faced with this rich guy with these young girls, face to face, with all the emotional context of actual direct human interaction.
I can image he a situation in which I meet an older guy with some young girls and it’s all fine. I can also imagine ones where I would be deeply uncomfortable and queasy about the interpersonal dynamics going on.
The women at the lab weren’t in a hypothetical situation, they were in a specific real life situation, and the way it made them feel was clearly very, very uncomfortable to the point of deep distress.
So I can see why you think talking about hypotheticals is all fine and you don’t understand why it upsets people. But a lot of wealthy powerful people have spent a lot of effort trying to normalise, justify, write off and cover for Epstein’s behaviour. Those efforts created a context where Epstein was able, again, to traffic and sexually abuse children. So any direction of the discussion towards a context that even inadvertently appears to be normalising any aspect of his behaviour, well, I’d say this thread at this time on this topic isn’t the time or place.
Critical thinking can tell you there is a higher chance the women were sex trafficked considering the employer and his immoral proclivities. It can't tell you if they actually were or not.
1) If a powerful man who has been accused of sex trafficking
2) shows up with two girls less than half his age,
3) who are from eastern europe (while he is an American, not exactly where he'd get girlfriends or assistants),
4) he passes them of like his "assistants",
5) while they look like models,
6) and they make everybody uncomfortable to the point of telling them to signal whether they're there against their will
then critical thinking says he's more probably than not indeed sex trafficking, and there's something really shady in his relationship with the two girls...
Not, "they're surely just his assistants, nothing to see here, why would anybody consider anything else going on without some written testimony, a full confession and perhaps lab evidence?"
Each and every one of those people underneath Ito who suspected something might be up had the opportunity to do something about it, including going to the board, and given their suspicions they should have. And yet, nobody did.
There's not much difference between the two camps, especially if the "models" are just teenage girls from some Eastern European village or pre-adult girls (as low as 14) from broken poor families as he lured in the US, forced into it for the money or lured with promises of exposure, and often given drugs, beaten and passed around to "friends", and not professional models with actual (even if small) careers that saw an opportunity to make more money...
You might not know all this from mere looking, but you can see a lot of dynamics in direct play, especially if you know more stories about the same person...
(Also, I'd paraphrase the "summary" you did, more like "These things might not be obvious to some people without such exposure, but they do happen all the time in certain circles/countries/etc, and many people can tell when such shit goes on". Oh, and it doesn't have to be "ultra wealthy" at the Epstein-level, you can meet lower rent versions of such types at all scales, down to your friendly local scam rich from e.g. real estate, or construction, or political affiliations, or some state-given monopoly, etc).
He once jocked for a 17 year old that "she is getting too old for me".
The girls were scouted and selected by a group of trusted aides "from troubled backgrounds, either in the foster care system, from broken families, or below the poverty line"...
Not sure how much 'agency' we should give them.
These are not really women going with some boyfriend or merely a young girl with a much older guy. E.g. I'm OK with Louis CK asking to masturbate, and then doing it when the women said yes (I don't consider their "yes" to be any kind of manipulation, rich or not, powerful or not, they could always say no).