South Africa: The U.S's Epstein Saga Sparks an Important Question - How Does SA Treat Sexual Offence Survivors?

opinion

A great deal has been written on the failures of the South African criminal justice system in prosecuting sexual offences. Roughly a year ago, the Constitutional Court handed down a judgment demonstrating how South Africa, in many ways, is many years ahead in how it in theory deals with survivors of sexual offences.

In the United States, Jeffrey Epstein is accused of terrible crimes. Epstein, a US financier, is alleged to have constructed a "child sex pyramid" and sex-trafficking ring in the early 2000s. His modus operandi, according to FBI investigations and eyewitness accounts, was to pay girls as young as 14 to perform sexual acts at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. He would then pay these girls more money if they recruited other under-age girls to do the same. Epstein is accused of creating an intricate, international network of child sex-trafficking that involved untold numbers of victims and accomplices.

In 2005, Epstein was reported to the police in Palm Beach by the parents of a girl who alleged he had molested her. Police and FBI investigations discovered that Epstein had allegedly molested dozens of victims. The normal criminal process should then have followed: Epstein should have been arrested,...

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