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.
“It seems clear to us that these hotels knowingly put their own profits over the protection of the children, teenagers and young women who were being sold for sex at their hotels,” said Paul Pennock, Trafficking & Abuse Practice Group leader at Weitz & Luxenberg. “We believe that they neglected their duty to take action to stop these heinous crimes for decades, and it is time for them to be held responsible for what they perpetuated through total inaction.”
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