Why it's so difficult for human trafficking victims to come forward

Brad Myles, CEO of Polaris, discusses the indictment of Jeffrey Epstein and the power imbalance of human trafficking.
8:38 | 07/09/19

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Transcript for Why it's so difficult for human trafficking victims to come forward
All right turning now to the sordid case and federal indictment billionaire finance here Jeffrey Epstein up in a in New York City charged with sex trafficking. Dozens of miners in New York State and Florida back in early two thousands he's pleaded not guilty we should say here's his picture of course but the case is put a fresh spotlight. On human trafficking and what it is how what happens how difficult it is for her for these victims to come forward what they said. In this case and we're joined now by Tom ya mister chief. Our national correspondent from New Yorkers were covering the case also hear that insinuate Brad miles he's the CEO Polaris. The organization that runs the national human trafficking hotline bred great to see you inherit this thanks Charlie so let's start with what is. Human sex trafficking what do you how would you know and if he sought. Yeah so there's a federal bill the trafficking victims protection act. It defined three types of trafficking child sex trafficking at any child under the age of eighteen being exploited in the sex trade that's we saw here at this case. Adult sex trafficking has any adult eighteen or over his in the sex trade by force fraud or coercion. And then there's a whole piece on labor trafficking which is any child or adult is forced to work with four start course. She got three types of trafficking this one is all about child sex trafficking and from your research how common is that you know I think it's far under age when. We see the numbers in the hundreds of thousands so we're looking at kids who have run away from home and their vulnerable on the streets when an almost youth. We see kids being our critter in the Foster care system. Because trafficking is all about abusing power over vulnerability. That's what this case is all about he had tons of power he was preying on people who are vulnerable and other chapters do the same thing. So they seek out kids that they know averted an abuse averted a neglected averted run away from home may be LG BTQ kids who came out their parents and got kicked out of their house. Traffickers are looking to pray on that vulnerability that's the power dynamic at the core of this issue. And what we're what does this stand out like signs and that we see you know I was traveling in your cup weeks ago saw signs up in the hotel that said if you see something say something report human trafficking and what we're people's was we're looking for a what's the sign that this is happening in front of them. Great question a lot of those signs point toward the national hotline and airports and hotels and others we appreciate that. I I think that the tough thing is there's not one single telltale sign read it's it's not like there's this one so liberal I think it's trusting your gut. It's it's seeing an overly dominating relationship or someone is very fearful of another person you sometimes see that and hospital settings or health care senator someone's kind of afraid. Maybe someone you try to speak to them directly asked and question someone else jump sentence as all answer for her. You know like well why can't she answer for herself right someone who's clearly kind of out of place where there. Walking around at. You know tons a cold weather but they're not wearing appropriate clothing. All these different signs of something triggers in your guys we encourage people to call Nash on him again about 200 calls a day from around the country learn about 111000 cases of trafficking a year. And so we get to see all the patterns of how this really plays out and it keeps coming back to people in power abusing people who are vulnerable. You should say reduce the number of on the screen your 2188837378888. And do you feel like the numbers are going in the right direction I mean you eat these numbers are staggering it's hard to even found on the pat many. That can be that many victims our own country today Jeep like law enforcement is getting better smarter are people getting. And more aware more able to recognize the signs I. I think the movement is growing I'm I'm hopeful I think awareness is out there way more than it was eyes are doing is working 2002. When I go around talking about that's good in on us talking about rights and now. Most police are trained I think now they're task forces I think now most Frontline professionals like hotel workers are trained. Yet we're still not seeing enough law enforcement capacity and service writer capacity to really build a strong robust trafficking field I think we need more investment in the field. But I I still do think though that the issue has so much vulnerability out there. Whether or not it's migrants traveling whether or not its people fleeing natural disaster is whether an honest people in Foster care. And traffickers are sitting there looking to pray on that vulnerability. So as long as those fault lines are out there in society chapters are looking to kick people while they're down about it as a scary about this issue is taking advantage of people. Like in this case a lot of these girls were vulnerable then let's and that lets for Tommy honest in the conversation as Tom you. I've spoken with some of Epstein alleged victims here about it. What to the table when did they know they were being traffic at the time why and how difficult was it for them to come forward still part of the problem here as. We just heard is that these girls were so young one of the alleged victims was fourteen she said she had braces on at the time so it's hard to even. Alison pass judgment but even sort of didn't that line of question of what's going on these these girls were allegedly paid hundreds of dollars at the time. And prosecutors said they they were girls at that Jeffrey Epstein sought out because they were vulnerable as we just hurting her interview in a lot of times the victims in these cases. Are our kids who these predators think they can take advantage of a lot of times the obvious do you take advantage of them. Ross what we've learned over the last few days sitting with ease with which these accusers. Is that they're just there still will leave right now we were in court with two of you futures yesterday when they walked. In. Ever would sort of there was a hush over them to the courtroom when when two of the accusers walked in and it when Jeffrey Epstein walked in you know he was. He was in a a blue prison jumpsuit they can actually see him they could hear the charges and for them it was a little bit of relief but what they're really not pulling up to what show because they saw him beat this case before and they're not sure what's gonna happen this time they you'll get so much power so much money. They're there are hopeful it to make it happen this time around. But again they were disappointed so long ago and it's taken the more than a decade to get to this point now and we'll see it that wait and see what happens. Yeah and in time you alluded to it there but that debt. Earlier plea deal said that cost so much consternation now. Involved labor secretary Alex Acosta in the trump administration was US attorney in Florida and the president. Seems to be defending Acosta just a short time ago in the Oval Office had this to say about his labor secretary in this case. I feel very badly actually for secretary constant because. I've known him as being somebody that worked so hard and has done such a good job I feel very badly. About that whole situation but we're going to be looking at that. And looking that is very closely. Brad what do you think should hear as I'm. It's a conversation that's happening in the trafficking field right now I mean I I think one thing that's clear is that the original case was just an utter failure of justice for these what eighty to a hundred victims. And they've had to suffer that trauma for the past ten years while Epstein has been flying around the world that has multiple houses and as multiple cars. What this case does do though and I'm really appreciative this is that expands people's minds. Of what a trafficker looks like. I think of our ask most people in the audience today picture human trafficker. What's the image that comes to mind right people think someone in Thailand people think someone an organized crime they might not think it Caucasian billionaire who's from the finance industry right right. And this case reminds us that chapters come in all shapes and sizes including this. And this is finally were hoping that some real justice can get served here Gregg Alitalia. Got into having a point here you know as. Earlier Eric Epstein pleaded not guilty in court to those sex trafficking car Rosenzweig on the record with that but. Though crimes that were talking about today now the crimes he's been charged with now. Are almost identical and similar to what happened years ago. When Alex Acosta was US attorney we're not talking about things that are drastically different. We're actually talking about a lot of the same things the C mentions where these alleged assault occurred in massage rooms with children. So Alex Acosta is put on a lot of statements. He was questioned about this for his confirmation hearings he sort of held the same line he he's seen that that there's new evidence now he looks forward to the prosecution here in. In New York State but you have to understand. Epstein took this immunity deal in Florida he thought it was in the granting privileges all over the country that's what is his lawyers are arguing but prosecutors have made it clear that deal. Was only for Florida this is a whole new ball game in New York. All right Tom thanks so much for your reporting there weekend world news anchor and our chief national correspondent time Gama spread miles CEO Polaris. Which runs the national human trafficking hotline we got that emerald put it back up to one. 888. 373788. Age every gallery of a black or seventy degree 3733 if you see something say something no signs are up Brad thank you so much things done.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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