How Hotels Are Being Held Liable for Sex Trafficking
Human traffickers generally cannot commit crimes without relying on other industries, especially the hospitality industry. Hotels and motels are often used for sex trafficking, given the anonymity they offer. It is not always obvious or apparent who may be a victim, which means hotel employees cannot identify them unless they receive adequate training. Given the hospitality industry’s role in sex trafficking and the opportunity they have to battle this serious crime, they could be held liable for allowing it to occur on their property.
The Intersection of Hotels and Sex Trafficking
Hotels and motels are attractive venues to sex traffickers for numerous reasons. It is relatively easy to book rooms using cash and little or no identification. These rooms could be booked for long-term use, and buyers can easily access the rooms while remaining completely anonymous. Since hotel staff often lack the training to identify or handle these matters, they tend to look the other way and ignore it. Unfortunately, this only helps perpetuate the problem.
Hotel Liability and Victims’ Rights
Hotels and motels have a legal duty of care to maintain safe premises and take the proper precautions to keep guests safe. These are some steps owners or management could take:
- Provide training for their staff regarding the dangers of sex trafficking
- Provide training for their staff to help them identify victims of sex trafficking
- Create effective protocols for their staff to follow if they suspect sex trafficking is taking place
While these seem like steps that could be reasonably taken, they are rarely taken in the hospitality industry. Not only does staff ignore the obvious signs, but they sometimes help conceal traffickers and their victims. According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), hotels and motels can be held liable, both civilly and criminally, for sex trafficking that occurs on their premises. When a hotel or motel fails to help victims of sex trafficking, they could face a premises liability claim for their inaction.
Pursuing Compensation: Legal Avenues for Victims
If you were the victim of sex trafficking and the hotel or motel where you were trafficked did nothing to keep you safe, you have the right to file a premises liability claim. These venues owe a duty of care to their guests and could be held accountable for any harm they endure.
Everyone’s specific case is unique, so the compensation you could recover may vary. An experienced premises liability attorney could review these details with you and answer any questions you have. Generally, compensation could cover the following:
- Medical expenses
- Missed wages
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Although punitive damages are not usually awarded, they can be in cases where defendants behaved in a particularly malicious or evil manner.
Evidence and Documentation in a Sex Trafficking Case
Evidence and documentation will play a significant role in your case. Witness statements, online communication, medical records, police reports, and surveillance footage could all strengthen your claim, which is why it is essential to hire a legal team that could work diligently on your behalf.
Support Services for Victims
Victims of sex trafficking have a lot to cope with in the aftermath of such an ordeal. It is important to seek medical care as soon as possible and to find the emotional support and counseling you need to recover. Local resources NGOs can use for victims include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, community health centers, and even clothing provided by local chapters of national organizations.
Schedule a Consultation with One of Our Compassionate Dallas Premises Liability Lawyers
Victims of sex trafficking suffer at the hands of not only their captors but hotels and motels that turn a blind eye to their plight. Take the first step toward holding them accountable by obtaining experienced legal counsel. At The Lenahan Law Firm, our Dallas premises liability lawyers could provide the exceptional legal support you need during this difficult time. Call us today at (214) 295-1008 to schedule a consultation.