This trio of hotel companies provide lodging to tens of thousands of people across the United States each and every year. A contention is now being put forward that hotel and motels operated by these companies are complicit in what law enforcement officials are calling “rampant sex trafficking” occurring at lodging properties across the United States. At the moment, Hyatt, Best Western, and Red Lion have been singled out as allegedly being particularly egregious in their ignoring criminal activity at their properties and mercilessly profiting from the illicit sex trade.
Statistics regarding sex trafficking in the United States are stunning. The sex trafficking industry is believed to generate $99 billion in revenue annually. Sex trafficking is second only to the sale of illegal drugs when it comes to criminal enterprises in the United States.
With the media tossing about large dollar amounts all the time, $99 billion (again, billion with a “B”) might not seem all that alarming. We keep hearing about a trillion dollar budget deficit and hundreds of billions of dollars being used for military spending. Bernie Madoff made headlines and became the subject of a couple of films for a Ponzi scheme that resulted in a swindle that is said to have reached about $50 to $60 billion. Thus, before diving a bit further into the potential liability of hoteliers for sex trafficking, putting the money generated by this horrible criminal enterprise is helpful. Consider the following estimates of what is spent in different legitimate, lawful U.S. industries annually:
- Pet food sales – approximately $65 billion, or $34 billion less than sex trafficking
- Candy sales – approximately $35 billion, or $64 billion less than sex trafficking
- Traditional cigarette sales – approximately $80 billion, or $99 billion less than sex trafficking
Referring to sex trafficking as “big business” is a complete understatement. But, considering sex trafficking from the vantage point of revenue generated only illustrates how perversely widespread the despicable sex trade is in the United States. The number of victims of sex trafficking is heart breaking.
United States citizens represent the largest cohort of participants in the illicit sex trade around the world. With that said, because of the hidden nature of sex trafficking – and the apparent complicity of businesses like some major hotel and motel companies – getting a precise count on the prevalence of sex trafficking inside the United States is challenging. The same holds true in regard to the number of women and children being removed from the United States as part of the international sex trade. As was mentioned a moment ago, men from the United States are the largest group of people seeking to procure sex via the illicit sex trade.
Another startling statistic is that in the United States, at least 60 percent of sex trafficking crimes take place at hotels and motels across the country. In some ways, hotels and motels arguably have become ground zero in the criminal sex trade in the United States. This includes situations in which actual hotel guests, particularly children, have been snared into a sex trafficking scheme. Moreover, minors previously entrapped into the criminal sex trade are brought to hotels and motels to “service clients.” And, time and again, hotels and motels are alleged to be well-aware that this horrific criminal enterprise – including the sexual abuse of minor children – is occurring on their properties.
Hotels and motels, as is the case with any other business enterprise with a presence in the brick and mortar world, have a legal obligation to keep their facilities reasonably safe. This includes maintaining reasonable protections against the commission of crimes on their properties. With lawsuits beginning to crop up in Texas and elsewhere in the United States, the reality that some hoteliers have knowledge of sex trafficking occurring on their properties but are choosing to ignore it is becoming apparent. Simply, at least some percentage of the $95 billion sex trade evidently is going into the coffers of hotels and motels across the country.
If you’ve suffered some type of injury at a hotel or motel, including but not limited to an incident associated with sex trafficking or some other criminality, a premises liability lawyer from The Doan Law Firm can fight for you. You can schedule an initial consultation and case evaluation right now by calling (800) 349-0000 (day or night). A nationwide law practice, with offices across the country, The Doan Law Firm makes a firm attorney fee promise. You pay no fee unless we win for you.