After five days of deliberation spanning the Christmas holiday, a federal jury in the Southern District of New York today found Ghislaine Noelle Marion Maxwell guilty of five of six counts of human trafficking for her actions over ten years in multiple US states.

The jury convicted Maxwell of conspiring with others to entice an individual to travel in interstate commerce to engage in sexual activity; conspiring with others to transport an individual under the age of seventeen in interstate commerce, with intent that the individual engage in sexual activity; transporting an individual under the age of seventeen in interstate commerce, with the intent that the individual engage...

After five days of deliberation spanning the Christmas holiday, a federal jury in the Southern District of New York today found Ghislaine Noelle Marion Maxwell guilty of five of six counts of human trafficking for her actions over ten years in multiple US states.

The jury convicted Maxwell of conspiring with others to entice an individual to travel in interstate commerce to engage in sexual activity; conspiring with others to transport an individual under the age of seventeen in interstate commerce, with intent that the individual engage in sexual activity; transporting an individual under the age of seventeen in interstate commerce, with the intent that the individual engage in sexual activity; conspiring to engage in sex trafficking of individuals under the age of eighteen; and sex trafficking of an individual under the age of eighteen.

The jury acquitted Maxwell of enticing an individual to travel in interstate commerce to engage in sexual activity. Maxwell, who turned sixty this month, faces a potential sentence of over six decades in prison.

At trial, along with dueling experts, Jeffrey Epstein’s former employees, associates and victims testified that Epstein and Maxwell were a team, a description critical to the government’s theory of conspiracy, particularly since Epstein is now deceased, purportedly by suicide. The United States Department of Justice presented evidence that Maxwell groomed adolescents, whom she claimed to be mentoring, by shopping with them, taking them to movies and influencing them to take Epstein’s cash offerings. She eventually introduced the girls to Epstein, and their interactions, in which Maxwell herself sometimes joined in, escalated from massages to groping to sexual abuse. Numerous victims came from single-parent households struggling to make ends meet. The victims who testified in court endured challenges to their integrity, motives and character from Maxwell’s team of lawyers.

Defense lawyers further portrayed their client as a victim of sexism in a world corrupted by misogyny since original sin: “Ever since Eve was accused of tempting Adam for the apple, women have been blamed for the bad behavior of men, and women are often villainized and punished more than the men ever are,” asserted one of Maxwell’s attorneys.

It is true that women throughout history have been and remain vulnerable because of their gender. Today, one in three women in the world, or about 736 million women, has experienced sexual or physical violence at least once in her life, according to the World Health Organization. Women and girls represent 72 percent of human trafficking victims worldwide. Across cultures, the most habitually victimized women are young, ethnic minorities, and socioeconomically disadvantaged.

Ghislaine Maxwell is no such woman. On the contrary, Maxwell is an enormously privileged individual who used her very status as a woman to lure vulnerable young girls without her education, wealth and power into Jeffrey Epstein’s lair. Multiple victims testified that it was Maxwell who normalized sexual behavior to which they were otherwise unaccustomed. It was Maxwell who made a pretense of friendship to open the door to abuse. And it was Maxwell who recruited girls whom she knew were vulnerable into the Epstein network. Maxwell’s claim of sexist typecasting reflects a gaping lack of self-awareness, a grotesque sense of entitlement and an alarming capacity for manipulation… all characteristics that support today’s verdict.

Human trafficking is one of the most profitable global black market criminal enterprises because people without conscience, like Ghislaine Maxwell, target children and adults alike for the perverse use of predators at every level of society. Today’s verdict is a victory for truth, but it is only the first step in unraveling Jeffrey Epstein’s empire of exploitation. During his sordid life, Epstein befriended the most formidable men in the world. True justice requires all Epstein’s co-conspirators, clients and enablers to be similarly prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to the full extent of the law.

Rachel Kunjummen Paulose is a 1997 graduate of Yale Law School and a former US attorney for the District of Minnesota (2006-08).