Another woman has come forward alleging that multiple hotel chains knew that she was being trafficked for sex on their properties and, rather than intervening, chose to protect their profits and turn a blind eye instead.
According to CNN, the plaintiff, identified only by the initials A.B., has sued six hotel chains over ongoing abuses she endured while being trafficked between Washington and Oregon at the age of 22. The chains include Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc., Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Marriot International, Choice Hotels Corp., Extended Stay America, and Red Lion Hotels Corp.
The suit is the second in recent months that asserts that the hotels in question knew about the trafficking that was happening on their properties in plain sight and failed to act. A lawsuit filed against two hotel chains in New York City involving the sex trafficking of a minor claims that not only did hotel staff know what has happening but, in at least one case, participated in the abuse in lieu of payment for the room. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Choice Hotels Corp. were named as defendants in that case as well.
“Rather than taking timely and effective measures to thwart this epidemic,” says A.B.’s lawsuit, “defendant hotels have instead chosen to ignore the open and obvious presence of sex trafficking on their properties, enjoying the profit from rooms rented for this explicit and apparent purpose.”
Every chain but Red Lion Hotels Corp. issued a statement to CNN condemning human trafficking and extolled their respective commitments to identifying victims, training employees, and working with authorities to capture those responsible. However, the reality of the situation may differ significantly from the shiny PR spin. Sources in the New York trafficking case indicated that while Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Choice Hotels Corp. may act as though they take trafficking seriously, neither chain mandates franchise employee training on detecting the signs of trafficking the way other chains do.