Sex Trafficking Survivors Take Aim at Hotels
A sex trafficking survivor is suing several Houston-area hotels. She claims that, at the age of 15, she was moved from one hotel to another until she was rescued by police. She claims the hotels are guilty of negligence in facilitating the sex trafficking ring that held her captive.
This is not the first such lawsuit to target hotels. Similar lawsuits have been filed in Philadelphia and Albuquerque alleging similar misconduct. How do these lawsuits work? Let’s take a look.
Hotels Aided and Abetted Sex Traffickers
In order to understand the theory behind these lawsuits, it’s important to understand the roles of the hotels and motels in facilitating sex trafficking. Girls, in these cases, are set up in hotels and motels where they service clients. In cases where the government has a case against perpetrators, they can use evidence of their trafficking to detail how the hotels facilitated their crimes. The sex trafficking victim can then turn around and say that these businesses are liable for providing sex traffickers with an easy means to exploit them. These lawsuits are likely to be successful. Here’s why.
In Philadelphia, two teenage girls were held captive against their will in hotels. These include major chains like the Days Inn and North American Motor Inns. While employees contend that they had no idea what was going on, lawyers for the girls argue that they should have known. This is important. Attorneys for the plaintiffs will contend that there were numerous signs available to staffers and that they simply turned a blind eye to what was happening around them because they were making money off the illegal behavior.
A new lawsuit filed in New Mexico is being filed by attorneys who have filed 20 similar claims in Texas and these lawsuits are targeting more than just hotels. Some are targeting trucking companies and even websites like Backpage (which is used to advertise adult services) and Facebook. Lawyers maintain that Facebook was being used to help facilitate sex trafficking. If true, Facebook may be held liable in these cases.
What is the Hotel or Motel’s Responsibility?
One of the major questions that jurors will be forced to answer is just how far the hotel’s standard of care extends. For instance, in a typical negligent security lawsuit, a plaintiff would need to establish that the owner of a business either knew or should have known that some sort of violent act was possible or even probable. Do hotels have the duty to train their employees to look for signs of sex trafficking? Should the hotel staff have known that a certain situation appeared outside the norm?
In this case, johns would have been lining up to engage in sexual contact with the trafficking victim. The argument is being made that, because they didn’t call the police concerning the human trafficking, that they facilitated it. It falls under the purview of negligent security and there is a public policy incentive to curb sex slavery. The hotels should lose these lawsuits.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been the victim of someone else’s negligence or an injury on the premises of a negligent party, the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers, P.L.L.C. can help you recover damages related to your injuries. Talk to us today. We can help.