Virginia Giuffre, an American, claims she was a victim of sex trafficking and abuse by Jeffrey Epstein and his strong associates when she was a teenager.
After filing a civil complaint against Britain’s Prince Andrew, she has found herself at the center of one of the world’s most high-profile judicial battles.
Her allegations of sexual assault against the royal have been refuted time and time again by the royal. However, his lawyers’ efforts to get the lawsuit dismissed at an early stage have so far been unsuccessful, resulting in a civil trial in New York in the autumn.
What we know about Virginia Giuffre is as follows
Ms. Giuffre was born as Virginia Roberts in the US state of California in 1983. Her family eventually moved to Florida.
She claims she was sexually raped by a family acquaintance when she was seven years old. Her “childhood was quickly taken away.”
In 2019, she told the BBC’s Panorama program, “I was just so mentally scarred already at such a young age, and I ran away from that.”
She was in and out of foster care throughout her childhood. She was living on the streets by the age of 14, where she says she found nothing but “except for hunger and pain and [more] abuse”.
Then, she met British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in the year 2000 while seeking to restore her life.
Ms. Giuffre was working as a locker room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. Maxwell approached her and offered her an interview for a massage therapist training program.
“I ran over to my dad who works on the tennis courts at Mar-a-Lago, and he knows I’m trying to fix my life up at that point, which is why he got me the job there. I said: ‘You’re not going to believe it dad’,” she recalled.
Giuffre, Epstein, Maxwell
Ms. Giuffre claims that when she arrived at Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, he was naked and that Maxwell briefed her on how to massage him.
“Through that time they were asking me questions about who I was.
“They seemed like nice people so I trusted them, and I told them I’d had a really hard time in my life up until then – I’d been a runaway, I’d been sexually abused, physically abused… That was the worst thing I could have told them because now they knew how vulnerable I was,” she told the BBC.
Ms. Giuffre said that what she thought would be a job interview quickly turned into the start of years of torture.
Maxwell was convicted guilty of recruiting and trafficking underage girls for Epstein’s abuse last month and is awaiting sentencing.
Ms. Giuffre was mentioned in court several times. But she was not one of the four women who testified in the case. Maxwell has stated that she did not assault her.
Ms. Giuffre filed a defamation suit against Maxwell in 2015 after she accused her of lying. The case was eventually settled.
Ms. Giuffre claims that after being assaulted by Epstein, she was “passed around like a platter of fruit” among his prominent acquaintances, flown across the world on private jets.
She claims Epstein brought her to London in 2001 when she was 17 and introduced her to Prince Andrew. She claims that a now-famous photograph of the prince with his arm around Ms Giuffre was shot that night, with Maxwell smiling in the background.
Ms. Giuffre claims that after going to a nightclub, Maxwell informed her that she “had to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey.”
“It was a really scary time in my life… I wasn’t chained to a sink, but these powerful people were my chains,” she told the BBC.
Ms. Giuffre claims the prince sexually abused her three times in her civil case. That night in Maxwell’s London home, afterward at Epstein’s homes in Manhattan and Little St James in the Virgin Islands.
In a 2019 interview with BBC Newsnight, Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son, said he had no knowledge of ever meeting Ms. Giuffre and, in response to her allegation of them having sex in the US and UK, that it “didn’t happen.”
Virginia Giuffre: “It’s definitely not over”
According to Ms Giuffre, Epstein had lost interest in her by 2003 since she was too old for him.
She claimed she persuaded a wealthy businessman to pay for her to receive professional massage training. He arranged for her to attend a class in Thailand. But she also had to bring home a Thai girl who Epstein had invited to the US.
Ms. Giuffre currently lives with her husband and three children in a spacious property on Perth’s shore.
Speak Out, Act, Reclaim (SOAR) is a non-profit organization. She formed it with the goal of “educating and advocating for victims of trafficking.”
“It’s definitely not over,” Ms. Giuffre told New York Magazine after the ruling against Maxwell last month.
“There are so many more people involved with this,” Virginia Giuffre said.\