Several hotel chains in Atlanta, Georgia are facing new legal troubles, after their employees allegedly enabled sex trafficking, and even profited from the illegal activity, for years.
According to four federal sex trafficking lawsuits filed late last month in Georgia, the Jane Doe plaintiffs claim they were forced to perform commercial sex acts at a Red Roof Inn in Smyrna, a Suburban Extended Stay in Chamblee, a La Quinta Inn in Alpharetta, and an Extended Stay America in Atlanta between 2010 and 2016.
While being trafficked, they also endured “violent beatings, controlled and forced drug use, manipulation, threats, fraud and coercion” at the hand of their pimps. Two of the women were just 15 and 16 when they were trafficked.
Some of the plaintiff had to meet a quota of $1,000, requiring them to see 10 or more men each day. The lawsuits further charge that hotel employees were not only aware that sex trafficking was going on at the establishments, but actually assisted in their exploitation.
For example, they allegedly ignored the tell-tale signs of sex trafficking, including:
Even worse, the women claim that hotel employees would stand guard or warn their pimps when police were on the premises and when guests complained.
At one hotel, employees gave sex traffickers rooms near the back exit, so people could easily come in and out without drawing attention. At another, an employee offered a plaintiff lingerie sold at a hotel shop after learning she was being trafficked.
In return, the employees allegedly received a cut of the traffickers’ profits.
The sex trafficking purportedly continued for years, despite repeated police stings, guest complaints, and even online reviews detailing the activity on TripAdvisor. In fact, someone claiming to be a manager at the Red Roof Inn actually responded to some of those negative reviews, according to the lawsuits.
The complaints point out that Atlanta is one of the most profitable cities in the United States for sex trafficking. According to the US Department of Justice, Atlanta’s commercial sex industry was worth $290 million in 2007, when traffickers were earning roughly $33,000 per week.