Alexander Acosta: Trump official who helped paedophile Epstein evade prosecution wants to slash funding for fighting child sex trafficking

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver

Alexander Acosta - who was recently found out to have helped paedophile Jeffery Epstein evade justice - now wants to cut 80 per cent of funding to the government agency that combats child sex trafficking.

The US labour secretary plans to reduce the International Labour Affairs Bureau’s (ILAB) funding from $68m to $18.5m in the Department of Labours' 2020 fiscal year.

​The ILAB works to combat human trafficking and forced labour, particularly with cases of children.

Mr Acosta came under fire after it emerged that he had granted Epstein immunity from federal prosecution in 2008 while he was being investigated for his part in a child sex trafficking ring.

The reduction of funds has been heavily criticised by congress members, including Katherine Clark, a Massachusetts Democrat who called Mr Acosta’s proposal “reckless” and “immoral”.

Speaking to The Guardian, Ms Clark said this funding cut shows a pattern: “Like so many in this administration Mr Acosta chooses the powerful and wealthy over the vulnerable and victims of sexual assault and it is time that he finds another line of work.”

“I’m sure this is a very uncomfortable topic for him,” Ms Clark said, “but I don’t think he should be able to hide from it.”

Mr Acosta has been facing growing pressure from Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to resign in the wake of the revelation of the 2008 plea deal that he had oversaw, where an FBI investigation concentrating on Mr Epstein’s relationships with over 30 potentially underage girls was shut down.

Epstein pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of solicitation in the state, and the children were labelled prostitutes. Epstein served just 13 months in a Florida minimum security prison.

Donald Trump has attempted to minimise Mr Acosta’s role in the 2008 deal, saying: “I hear there were a lot of people involved in that decision, not just him.”

Mr Trump also noted Mr Acosta was “an excellent secretary of labour” and said: “The rest of it we’ll have to look at very carefully but you are talking about a long time ago.”