Suing the Companies Who Ignored You
The attorneys at W&L are currently filing lawsuit on behalf of sex trafficking victims. And we plan to file more on behalf of other survivors who reach out to us.
Here is a list of the main businesses that are the targets of our civil lawsuits.
If you want to sue the individuals who trafficked you, you should reach out to law enforcement. The police can help you begin the process of filing a criminal lawsuit.
Hotels and Motels
One of the main businesses that ignore the plight of sex trafficking victims is the hotel and motel industry. These are the first places that victims realize they are in trouble but being ignored. Victims learn that the world is corrupt and fear that no one is going to help them.
That is why we are in the process of filing lawsuits against most of the major chains.
Hotels and motels are a popular location for sex trafficking: 73.55% of cases of potential sex trafficking received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline between 2012 and 2016 were for hotel and motel-based sex trafficking. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), traffickers are drawn to the privacy and anonymity offered by hotels.
Sex traffickers may force victims to stay in a hotel or motel room and receive customers or send victims to a room rented by a customer. To ensure sex trafficking victims remain unfamiliar with their surroundings, traffickers often move them to different cities. Victims may live at hotels and motels during these travels.
There are clear signs of sex trafficking that hotel and motel employees may be able to recognize. Some of these signs are individuals who are:
- Showing signs of physical abuse, nervousness, fear, anxiety, confinement, malnourishment, poor hygiene, or fatigue.
- Being constantly monitored, lack freedom of movement, and have no control over money or their own ID.
- Avoiding eye contact and interaction with others.
- Wearing revealing clothing and have no luggage or bags.
- Staying in hotels or motels for weeks at a time.
- Refusing room service.
- Using side entrances.
- Having too many people in a room.
- Getting constant foot traffic from lots of men.
- And many others.
A responsible hotel or motel would have seriously and extensively trained its staff on the horrendous nature of trafficking. A responsible hotel or motel would also train on how to identify when trafficking is happening (easy though it is). And a responsible hotel or motel would have a strict protocol in place for what employees should do when they suspect trafficking, as well as constant self-policing mechanism to ensure the training and protocols are being followed. But hotels and motels ignored these signs –– out of negligence or worse –– and enabled sex traffickers.
The hospitality industry has a responsibility to keep its premises safe. Hotels and motels –– as well as hospitality companies like resorts, casinos, nightclubs, and convention centers –– found to be harboring sex trafficking enterprises should be held accountable.
Truck stops are another popular hub of sex trafficking. These chains include:
- Flying J.
- Travel Centers of America.
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In addition to a steady supply of truckers and travelers willing to pay for sex, truck stops are appealing to traffickers because of their remote location. Geographic isolation reduces both interference and attention from law enforcement, and keeps victims disorientated and unable to navigate their surroundings.
This ensures victim dependence on their traffickers. Homeless and runaway minors are frequent targets for truck stop sex trafficking.
Some signs that people are being used for sex trafficking at truck stops include:
- Individuals who appear nervous and are not truckers.
- Poorly lit and isolated areas.
- The same people going in and out.
- Lots of people going to the same room or vehicle.
- No luggage.
Like hotels and motels, truck stops have a responsibility to prevent sex trafficking from occurring on their premises. By failing to implement proper protocols and training, they too have profited from trafficking.
Sex traffickers use social media networks to develop relationships with potential victims and lure them into sex trafficking under false pretenses.
The traffickers often troll web sites. They locate and target potential victims, especially younger women, trying to make them feel noticed and wanted.
These internet platforms include:
- Dating websites, especially Tinder and PlentyOfFish.
These technology companies also have a responsibility to project their users –– especially minors –– from predators. When they fail to do so, they should be held accountable.