Weitz & Luxenberg has filed a multidistrict litigation petition against twelve U.S. hotel chains for corporate malfeasance for failing to safeguard against constant sex trafficking occurring on their properties and profiting from the trafficking through untold thousands of nights of room rentals. The petition claims that the defendants violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) and provided a marketplace for sex trafficking against federal law.
The hotel chains named as defendants in the petition include Choice Hotels, Wyndham, Red Lion Hotels, Inter-Continental Hotels, G6 Hospitality, Westmont Hospitality Group, Extended Stay America, Hilton, Best Western, Hyatt, Marriott and Red Roof Inns.
“The corporations who run these hotels knew what was going on. They put profits ahead of people. They allowed children and young adults to be used and sold for sexual actions at their properties,” said Tiffany Ellis, Trafficking Practice Group leader at Weitz & Luxenberg. “They had the opportunity to stop these sex acts from happening, but chose not to. After going on for decades, it’s time that someone puts the responsibility where it should lie – on the hotels that allowed this to occur for years, ruining young lives.”
The petition claims that the hotels ignored evidence that victims, most of whom were minors, were being trafficked on their premises, and that the hotels knew, or should have known, that they were benefitting financially from sex trafficking in their hotel rooms. The petition further notes that thousands of such claims will be filed in 2020 and beyond.
Sex trafficking generates an estimated $99 billion every year and hotels account for over ninety percent of the commercial exploitation of children(1). While several hotel chains have recently implemented sex trafficking training programs, the actions claim that they breached their legal duty to protect victims through decades of inaction and by failing to put anti-trafficking policies in place and enforce them.
The petition has been filed on behalf of sex trafficking survivors who have filed lawsuits in federal district courts throughout the country.
Read more at Reuters: Top hotels sued for ‘industry-wide failures’ to prevent U.S. sex trafficking.
Read more at the Associated Press (Appeared in more than 150 news outlets, including The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Houston Chronicle, Voice of America, ABC News, Yahoo Finance, MSN/Microsoft News, and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram): Lawsuits allege hotel chains ignored human trafficking