WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) Law Center has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, seeking damages against Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Inc., Choice Hotels International, Inc. and G6 Hospitality, LLC, for facilitating and profiting from the sex trafficking of a minor.
The plaintiff was 16 years old when her trafficking began in 2014, in rooms rented by her traffickers at Super 8, Clarion Inn and Motel 6 hotels, and lasted for years.
“We’re seeking some degree of justice for this survivor of child sex trafficking, though we can never undo the immense harm she suffered,” says Benjamin Bull, general counsel, NCOSE.
The suit alleges the hotels willingly ignored signs of the plaintiff’s sexual abuse and cites the traffickers had a personal relationship with the front-desk employee at the Motel 6, through which they secured rooms in the back of the hotel and could be notified if law enforcement officials were in the area.
“Through hotel staff and employees, these hotels should have known that the plaintiff was being trafficked for sex due to, but not limited to: large amounts of used condoms, empty lube bottles and other sex-related items in the hotel room; payments for the rooms in cash; the plaintiff’s physical appearance (malnourished, bruised, beaten); a continuous procession of older men entering and leaving the plaintiff’s room; and excessive requests for sheets, cleaning supplies, room service,” says Bull.
“Corporations can’t go to jail and the only way to hold them accountable is damages and attorneys fees. It’s clear the defendants financially benefited from the paid sexual assault of the child and other sex-trafficking victims like her. These hotels developed and maintained business models that attract and foster the commercial sex market for traffickers and buyers alike. The defendant hotels failed to take any steps to alert the authorities, properly intervene in the situation or take reasonable security steps to improve awareness of sex trafficking and/or prevent sexual exploitation on their properties.”
“Our hope is that this lawsuit serves notice to prevent any future sex trafficking from taking place at these hotels and others and to ensure that the hotel industry is held to account,” Bull adds.