Three national hotel chains are accused in a federal lawsuit of being complicit in rampant sex trafficking at hotels across the U.S., including a North Texas woman who was victimized at various Dallas-area hotels since age 4.
According to the lawsuit filed by trial lawyers at Houston-based Lanier Law Firm, hospitality companies including Best Western, Hyatt and Red Lion have ignored criminal activity occurring on their property and failed to protect victims of sex trafficking from exploitation. The federal lawsuit is part of a series of similar complaints seeking to hold hotel chains accountable for sexual exploitation of women and children.
"The hotel industry plays a crucial role in the sex trade," said Lanier Law Firm founder Mark Lanier. "For too long, the industry has profited by looking the other way when sex trafficking has been happening right in front of them. We're filing this lawsuit to get some justice for victims and to let these businesses know that their lack of action is unacceptable."
The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a woman who was sexually exploited at area hotels beginning when she was 4 years old. The suit specifically names Best Western Plus DFW Airport Suites, Hyatt House Dallas/Frisco, Best Western Irving Inn & Suites at DFW Airport, and the America's Best Value Inn Irving/Dallas.
The sex trafficking industry generates an estimated $99 billion each year, making it the second-largest illicit crime industry behind the sale of all illegal drugs, according to published reports. In addition, more than 60 percent of sex trafficking offenses occur in hotels, while eight out of 10 arrests for human trafficking occur in or around hotels.
"These crimes are happening in plain sight," said Lanier Law Firm trial lawyer Monica Cooper. "The hospitality industry has the ability to do something about this crisis. It's time for them to take ownership of this problem and do the right thing for these victims."
The case is F.M., an individual v. Best Western International; Hyatt Hotels Corporation; and Red Lion Hotels Corporation, Case No. 3:19-cv-02901, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.