Sex trafficking of women and girls is a devastating crime affecting communities everywhere in this country, including your own backyard. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center has received reports of trafficking cases in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. You might think you’re far removed from this modern-day slavery, but you’re not.
How can women and children be trafficked in the commercial sex trade so easily? Hotels, casinos, resorts, nightclubs, and other establishments allow this practice to flourish in your community, because turning a blind eye can be more profitable than actually doing something about the problem.
Globally, an estimated 4.8 million people, mostly women and children, were victims of the commercial sex trade, according to the International Labor Organization. In the US. In 2017, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimated that 1 in 7 runaways reported to them were likely sex trafficking victims.
This is a massive problem‚ a $32 billion a year criminal enterprise — and we’re here to try to help. Holding hotels, casinos, and other companies accountable for allowing women and children to be violated is crucial.
If you are a victim of sex trafficking, we may be able to help. Contact us today at 800-300-2100 for a confidential, free discussion. You may be entitled to compensation.
Victims of a Devastating Crime
Sex trafficking takes on a variety of different forms, but in general the U.S. Department of State describes it as the “act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud or coercion.”
Women and girls can end up forced into the sex trade for a variety of reasons, including false promises of a better life — perhaps in a safer place with a good job. They may be offered jobs as nannies, models, dancers, or waiters in vibrant cities that seem to present the opportunity to break free from the chains of poverty. Men and boys could be offered construction or farming jobs that similarly promise steady wages.
But people from safe, middle-class or wealthier homes can end up caught in the trade, too, through other promises, such as modeling or acting opportunities or some kind of companionship, such as a romantic relationship, friendship, or familial bond.
Regardless, the opportunities do not exist.
Instead, the traffickers use violence and psychological manipulation to control their victims. Sometimes they say the victims have to pay back some kind of “debt” the traffickers say the victims owe. Or they might threaten the victims’ families.
Those are just some examples. The problem of sex trafficking is pervasive and affects families across the socioeconomic spectrum.
Warning Signs of Sex Trafficking
Sex traffickers run their operations out of different types of establishments, so they don’t all look the same. However, there are many signs that may indicate sex trafficking in any scenario.
Victims of sex trafficking might:
- Have bruises, brands, or other signs of trauma
- Look malnourished
- Not have identification or possessions
- Have poor physical or dental health
- Not speak for themselves
- Avoid eye contact
- Live at their place of employment
This is not an exhaustive list of red flags — if you suspect that a business is turning a blind eye to sex trafficking under their roof, don’t hesitate to contact Morgan & Morgan. We’ve been protecting families since 1988, and we have the resources and experience to hold these businesses accountable. In times like these, you can count on us.
Does the Hospitality Industry Make Money from Looking Away?
Businesses in the hospitality industry are prime territory for sex traffickers, because they can take advantage of the privacy and anonymity offered to guests, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Hotels and motels are obvious examples, but sex trafficking also can occur at theme parks, cruise ships, resorts, and nightclubs.
Traffickers advertise online, through escort services, or even word of mouth, directing “customers” to the hotel or other business. The victims are restricted to the rooms, unable to leave and left to be exploited.
There are tell-tale signs that a hotel or other establishment is being used for sexual exploitation, according to DHS. These include women who have no control over their possessions or ID, rooms that request housekeeping services such as towels and linens but deny entry, and individuals lacking freedom of movement or they’re constantly monitored. There are more.
But those tell-tale signs don’t matter if the businesses look away and ignore what’s happening on their premises. This is negligent behavior that enables sex traffickers to continue their exploitation. It’s wrong and the businesses need to be held accountable.
Sex Trafficking and Social Media
Modern technology makes it so simple to connect with people online that it’s almost unavoidable. Unfortunately, this gives sex traffickers a multitude of options for contacting their targets. Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Plenty of Fish are common choices for sex traffickers, but social media staples like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter also provide easy access to the young and vulnerable.
Until these businesses are held accountable, they will continue to provide sex traffickers with a simple and relatively anonymous way to select and exploit their targets. By forcing these companies to change their policies, protect their users, and crack down on suspicious activity, we can fight back against sex trafficking.
Help Us Hold These Businesses Accountable
Our attorneys at Morgan & Morgan and Weitz & Luxenberg want to stop sex trafficking, and one way to try to do that is to show these facilities that they can no longer turn a blind eye to what’s happening under their roofs.
But we can’t do it alone. We need your help. If you are a victim of sex trafficking, contact us today at 800-300-2100 for a confidential, free discussion. You may be entitled to compensation.