Sex trafficking is an abhorrent crime. Unfortunately, sex trafficking offenses occur regularly in the state of Florida, particularly in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. To make matters worse, major hotel and motel operators often turn a blind eye, allowing for this criminal activity to occur at their establishments. At Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A., we firmly believe that those who have been the victims of sex trafficking in Florida should be compensated for the damages they suffered as a result of the actions or inactions of these hotels and motels. If you or somebody you love is a victim of sex trafficking, contact our sex trafficking attorneys in Florida for a free confidential consultation today. If you’d like, we can speak with you over the phone or via video conference so that you can discuss your situation from the privacy of your own home.
How can hotels and motels be held liable under federal law for sex trafficking?
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (“TVPRA”) (which can be found at 18 U.S.C. § 1591, et. seq.), victims of sex trafficking can file civil lawsuits against persons or entities who financially benefitted from sex trafficking when the persons or entities knew or should have known that sex trafficking was occurring on their premises. In the case of hotels and motels, the financial benefit they receive is from the rental of the rooms.
In many cases, it can be difficult to show that a hotel or motel operator actually knew that sex trafficking was occurring on their premises. Instead, a plaintiff will try to prove that the owners or operators should have known that sex trafficking was occurring at the premises. One way to do that is to show that the hotel or motel ignored a number of telltale signs of sex trafficking, including the following:
- Renting multiple rooms all close to one another
- Paying cash for the rooms, or using pre-paid cards
- Carrying minimal luggage or other possessions when checking in to the hotel or motel
- Refusing housekeeping services for multiple days in a row
- Having “Do Not Disturb” signs on the door for multiple days in a row
- Multiple men frequently coming and going from the rooms, especially late at night
- Women being kept inside the hotel or motel room for days at a time
- Women appearing to be afraid or anxious
- Women expressing an unwillingness to speak at all to hotel or motel employees
- Women showing signs of physical abuse, such as having bruises and cuts on their faces and bodies
These are just some of the potential signs that sex trafficking is occurring at a hotel or motel. Of course, any one factor from the list above, when standing alone, does not mean that sex trafficking is occurring. But when multiple factors exist at a hotel or motel, there is a substantially increased likelihood that sex trafficking is, in fact, happening at the premises.
Employees often may know that something is wrong with certain guests or that something is amiss, but knowingly choose not to report the activities to appropriate authorities and instead keep renting the rooms to the traffickers. This sort of willful disregard may, under some circumstances, provide support for holding the hotel and motel operators liable under the TVPRA.
If you or a loved one has been victimized by traffickers,contact our sex trafficking lawyers in Florida for a confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights.
Hotel and Motel Liability for Sex Trafficking Under Florida Law
As discussed above, hotel and motel operators often intentionally look the other way when it comes to sex trafficking despite the obvious signs that exist right in front of them. Under Florida law, if the hotel or motel operator should have known that sex trafficking was occurring at their premises, they potentially could be held liable under traditional negligence theories. These include that the hotel or motel:
- Failed to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for their guests, which resulted in persons being exposed to and victimized by sex traffickers at the premises
- Failed to enact and enforce adequate security measures to safeguard persons from criminal conduct, such as sex trafficking at the hotel or motel
- Failed to exercise reasonable care to protect their guests from the reasonably foreseeable harm of sex trafficking at the premises
- Was negligent in hiring employees and/or agents who allowed sex trafficking to occur at the premises
Major Hotel Chains Have Been Sued for Allowing Sex Trafficking to Occur at Their Premises
Numerous hotel and motel chains have been sued for allowing sex trafficking on their premises. These includes many well-known chains such as:
- Days Inn
- Super 8
- Best Western
- Red Lion
- Choice Hotels
- Extended Stay America
- Motel 6
Unfortunately, this is probably only a partial list; many other major and independent hotel and motel chains are very likely complicit in allowing sex trafficking to occur at their establishments.
If you are a victim of trafficking that occurred at a hotel or motel anywhere in this state, contact our Florida sex trafficking lawyers today to discuss your situation.
Can You File a Lawsuit Against a Hotel or Motel?
Whether you should file a lawsuit against a hotel or motel is not a decision you should make without considering all your options. You should speak with a qualified attorney with extensive experience helping victims of abuse. At Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A., if we handle your case, we are going to thoroughly evaluate your case and work hard to determine all the parties who were responsible for allowing you to be victimized by sex traffickers.
Under the TVPRA, victims are allowed to bring civil lawsuits against those responsible for the sex trafficking, including organizations that enable, facilitate, harbor, or financially benefit from the trafficking. Both US citizens and non-US citizens who have been the victims of sex trafficking are afforded certain benefits and protections under the TVPRA. This includes potential protection from deportation for some non-US citizens, such as certain unaccompanied minors. And under Florida law, any person who is the victim of sex trafficking can file a lawsuit for their damages.
What Type of Compensation Is Available in These Cases?
As the sex trafficking cases against hotel and motel chains move forward, some experts suspect that total settlements will reach into the billions of dollars for victims. While every case is different, some of the damages that a person can potentially recover in successful sex trafficking cases against hotels and motels include:
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Medical expenses for physical injuries
- Compensation for psychological or emotional injuries suffered
- Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life and other opportunities while forced into sex trafficking
At Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A., we understand that no amount of compensation can change what happened to victims of sex trafficking, but we want to help hold the perpetrators of these heinous acts (and those who allowed it to happen) accountable. We want to help victims gain some measure of closure.
Contact Our Florida Sex Trafficking Attorneys to Discuss Your Case Today
If you or somebody you love has been the victim of sex trafficking anywhere in Florida, we may be able to help. The lawyers at our office are dedicated to helping victims recover compensation for their losses.
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