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December 12, 2019

Sex Trafficking Lawsuits Call Out Hotels for Turning a Blind Eye on Sex Crimes

Victims Claim Hotels Ignored Sex Trafficking to Maintain Profits

According to nearly two dozen lawsuits scattered across the U.S., hotels have been turning a blind eye to sexual trafficking and sex slavery in order to keep up their profits. The most recent to hit the media is a personal injury filed on behalf of a 22-year old woman claiming she was sexually trafficked in Oregon and Washington hotels.

According to The Oregonian/OregonLive, the plaintiff, referred to as “A.B.” was forced to have sex with her trafficker’s clients in hotels across Oregon and Washington from September 202 to March 2013. The lawsuit states A.B.’s trafficker would hide away in the lobby or in a car while she was with clients inside the hotel.

Unregistered men would enter in and out of the rooms A.B.’s trafficker booked, an obvious sign of human trafficking the hotels failed to recognize. The woman names Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc., Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Marriott International Inc., Red Lion Hotels Corp., and Extended Stay America Inc. as defendants in her suit.

A.B. alleges that the hotels she was abused in failed to recognize obvious signs of sex trafficking and slavery and prevent the crimes committed under their watch. Some of the signs of abuse and trafficking the suit claims hotels should have recognized include no eye contact, the duration of stay, boxes of condoms, bottles of lubricants, used condoms in the trash, and overly excessive requests for extra towels and linens.

Because of their lack of action and even, at times, enabling of sex trafficking, the called-out hotels were complicit in her abuse.

Sex Trafficking Lawsuits

So far, hotels named as defendants in sex trafficking and slavery lawsuits across the U.S. include the following:

  • Hilton
  • Wyndam
  • Marriott
  • Choice
  • Extended Stay
  • Red Lion
  • Days Inn
  • Super 8
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Best Western
  • Red Roof Inn
  • Intercontinental
  • Westmont
  • La Quinta
  • Extended Stay America
  • Econoco Lodge
  • Howard Johnsons

A.B.’s claim was filed in the U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday, December 9, but she is not alone in her fight against hotels for sex trafficking. A lawsuit filed in the Easter District of Virginia earlier this month raised similar claims to A.B.’s, with the plaintiff alleging that it was extremely apparent for hotel operators that abuse was happening on their premises.

The lawsuit claims hotel operators remained “willfully blind to the criminal misconduct so that they may continue earning a profit at the expense of human life, human rights, and human dignity.”

So far, sex trafficking lawsuits have been filed by victims 21 in states include Virginia, Georgia, California, Washington and Ohio. However, a motion filed with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation suggests that there are actually around 1,500 sex trafficking victims who have or are in the process of retaining lawyers to evaluate their claims against hotels for sex trafficking.

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