Plaintiffs who have filed more than 20 sex trafficking hotel lawsuits around the nation would like their cases against the hotel chains to be consolidated by a federal judge in Ohio.
Each lawsuit alleges hotel employees and managers turned a blind eye when they saw obvious signs of sex trafficking on their properties. By not reporting the deviant activity, the hotels allegedly violated The Trafficking Victim Protection Re-Authorization Act, which was revised in 2008.
The revised version of the law extends the responsibility and liability of sex trafficking to include people who should have known such illegal activity was taking place on the property. A trafficking victim is allowed to file a lawsuit in order to obtain restitution from a business that benefited financially from the crimes committed against the victim.
According to WOSU Radio, lawyers representing the plaintiffs have asked a Columbus, Ohio federal judge to consolidate the sex trafficking hotel lawsuits for consideration in the U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio. Six of the cases originated in Ohio, which Ohio state Rep. Jena Powell has said “is the fourth worst state in the United States for human trafficking.”
Named defendants in the cases include Red Roof Inns, Best Western, Wyndham, Hilton, Marriott and many of their parent companies. The hotel chains are accused of assisting human traffickers by failing to follow through with policies and actions that could put a halt to the sordid businesses.
Allegations of Sex Trafficking Hotel Lawsuits
Cantonrep.com reported court documents indicate a hotel cleaning staff person saw a woman tied up in a guest room bed and begging for help, but ignored the woman, who could have been saved “from the ongoing and obvious torture she was enduring while being trafficked for sex.”
Another woman said she and others suffered from being branded and restrained while showing signs of bruising and general physical decline. In court documents, she said these visual cues in addition to the “bottles of lubricants, boxes of condoms, excessive requests for towels and linens, [and] cash payments” should have been red flags to hotel staff and management that the women were victims of human trafficking. The woman said she met a man online and thought they were going to date, but he placed her in forced labor in the form of prositution, which took place at different hotels in the Columbus area.
While many hotel chains say they have provided training to managers and staff, the turnover of staff members may mean not everyone is trained on how to spot human trafficking. In some cases, managers may not prioritize such training or even the reporting of human trafficking identifiers.
According to Cantonrep.com, some of the defendant businesses are seeking dismissals of the lawsuits “for lack of sufficient knowledge.”
Others are insisting they are doing everything they can to prevent any type of criminal presence from taking over their properties. Among the measures mentioned are the installation and monitoring of security cameras, preventing room rentals without proper valid I.D., and providing full cooperation with law enforcement investigations.
Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said his group is behind a national campaign, “No Room for Trafficking” to bring increased attention to human trafficking in an effort to cut back on crime. He said in a statement to Cantonrep.com that more than a million hotel employees have undergone training to both recognize and report evidence of human trafficking.
If you were a victim of sex trafficking and forced to work at a truck stop, hotel or motel, night club or other hotel venue, you may be eligible to move forward with a civil investigation against these businesses. This investigation involves a civil case, and is not a criminal case against you or your loved ones.
Top Class Actions is working with experienced human trafficking attorneys who will be informed and sensitive to your situation. Join the fight by filling out the short form on this page.
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