Hotel Chains Facing Sex Trafficking Lawsuits

November 2, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Hotel Chains Facing Sex Trafficking Lawsuits

The hospitality industry has played a significant role in facilitating the pervasive and ongoing exploitation perpetrated by sex trafficking rings nationwide. By failing to identify and report clear signs of sexual abuse on the premises, a number of major hotel chains have been implicated in recent sex trafficking lawsuits based on their negligence. The survivors behind these claims argue that the lack of intervention by hotel staff is not only in violation of federal and state statutes but that it also constitutes the basis for liability in a personal injury lawsuit.

Sex trafficking survivors are hopeful that major hotel chains will be obligated to take a more active role in eliminating sex trafficking operations on their premises as a result of the legal actions brought against their parent companies. The hotel sex trafficking lawsuits are also intended to compensate survivors for the undue mental, physical, and financial burdens they experienced as a result of hotel staff’s negligent conduct.

Our team at Dolman Law Group is fully committed to supporting this effort. To discuss your case in greater detail with a qualified personal injury attorney, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation by calling us at (727) 451-6900 or completing our online contact form.

Which Hotel Companies Have Been Accused of Enabling Human Trafficking

With locations spanning the country, hotels have become an integral part of both large and small-scale sex trafficking operations in the U.S. Plaintiffs have recognized that the systemic nature of negligence in the hospitality industry requires a comprehensive approach to enforce accountability.

Rather than exclusively filing hotel sex trafficking lawsuits against individual staff or specific properties, many survivors have filed personal injury claims against entire hotel chains and their parent companies. The list consists of a variety of well-known hotel chains, ranging from those that offer luxury accommodations to more modest and affordable lodgings.

  • Hilton 
  • Marriott
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Best Western
  • Days Inn
  • Choice Hotels
  • Red Roof Inn
  • Super 8
  • Red Lion
  • Motel 6
  • G6 Hospitality 

Currently, several of these hotel chains have been named by plaintiffs in the centralized sex trafficking claims filed in Ohio. Judge Algenon L. Marbley, who is presiding over the claims in the Southern District of Ohio, has ruled that out-of-state claims may also be filed in Columbus.

With this ruling, he has created an unprecedented opportunity for hotel chains to be held accountable for their contribution to the perpetuation of sex trafficking. These claims will test the mettle of federal laws that forbid anyone from benefitting from the actions of sex trafficking operations in the context of civil court.

Sex Traffickers Often Use Hotels to Commit and Conceal Their Operations

Sex traffickers often target people who are in vulnerable situations, such as foster kids, recent immigrants, runaways, and people suffering from homelessness or drug addiction. This allows them a greater degree of control over their captives.

Sex traffickers can also leverage a target’s lack of a stable home environment to operate with discretion, as their absence is less likely to be noticed or addressed. Once a human trafficker has established control over their target, they still require a feasible way to operate. Many find their solution in hotels with untrained, disinterested, or corrupt staff members.

Hotels Are a Common Setting For Sex Trafficking

Hotels provide sex traffickers with the relative privacy and anonymity they rely on, as well as the logistical accommodations for sexual acts. The population of a hotel is transient by nature, which serves sex traffickers in two ways.

They do not have to worry about people with routine schedules observing their activities over a period of time, as most hotel guests book short-term stays. Second, the lack of regular contact with the same group of people means that the sex trafficking victims are isolated, preventing them from building trust and depriving them of opportunities to escape.

Thus, it remains the task of hotel staff, especially guest-facing members like housekeepers and receptionists, to intervene because they are the only ones consistently in a position to witness suspicious activity indicative of sex trafficking.

Law enforcement depends on these reports from the hospitality industry, as well as those who work in healthcare or transportation, to identify and dismantle sex trafficking rings. However, instead of engaging in the fight against sex trafficking, too many hotel chains have allowed untold horrors to go unchecked. Now, survivors are seeking compensation for their damages in hotel sex trafficking lawsuits.

In order for a party to be considered liable, they must first be proven negligent. For a party such as a hotel chain to be negligent, they have to owe the plaintiff a duty of care to take action to prevent harm, such as being exploited for commercial sex. Hotels are often held to a higher standard in this regard. The environment a hotel provides is more conducive to sex trafficking operations, so there is a greater assumption that hotels should be aware of the risk to their guests.

Plaintiffs argue that the duty of hotel chains to intervene when sex trafficking is suspected is well-documented in federal law. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 creates civil liability for individuals or businesses that knowingly financially benefit from sex trafficking. Many states, particularly those with significant tourism industries like Florida, also have laws that specifically require hotel employees to be trained to identify and report sex trafficking, which further supports the existence of a duty of care

However, there has been pushback on holding hotel staff civilly liable in sex trafficking claims in the absence of proof that they had actual knowledge of the crime. The hotel sex trafficking claims in Ohio aim to hold hotel chains that knew or should have known sex trafficking was happening accountable.

Provided that plaintiffs are able to establish the hotel chains owed them a duty of care, they must then provide evidence that this duty was breached by the hotel chain’s negligence. This could include a failure to train staff on the signs of sex trafficking, report evidence of trafficking, or take reasonable precautions to prevent sex trafficking at their hotel.

Why You Should Choose Dolman Law Group to Handle Your Sex Trafficking Claim

With limited legal precedent in place to support sex trafficking claims against hotel chains, it is absolutely necessary to engage a personal injury attorney who has the experience to navigate this relatively uncharted territory. Our team at Dolman Law Group has an established record of excellence dating back over the past decade that speaks to our negotiating skills, grasp of complex legal procedures, and level of attentiveness to our clients’ needs.

Dolman Law Group has long been a vocal proponent of survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation. We have worked with clients from all backgrounds, including those who have suffered sexual abuse in institutions like the church and the military. Our team is familiar with the long-term psychological and financial impacts of being sex trafficked, which means that we can offer a more accurate assessment of applicable damages, including those you have yet to incur. 

For example, survivors of sex trafficking may experience a prolonged interruption of their education, thereby diminishing their earning potential. Our sex trafficking attorneys have the resources and expertise to collect pertinent evidence, investigate the circumstances of your case, craft a strategy to maximize your compensation, and offer exceptional insight throughout the personal injury claims process.

Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Hotel Sex Trafficking Lawsuit

Although specific hotel chains are named in the sex trafficking lawsuits, the appalling failure to prevent sexual exploitation by human traffickers is seen as an industry-wide issue. In remaining complicit in sex trafficking schemes, hotel chains are effectively profiting from the abuse in violation of federal law and in breach of their duty to survivors. At Dolman Law Group, we believe that the pattern of negligence displayed by hotel chains across the country is disgraceful, and that it may constitute grounds for a personal injury claim.

Hotel chains and their employees have both a legal and a moral imperative to take action when people are being exploited for commercial sex on their premises. Our team of hotel sex trafficking attorneys will relentlessly advocate for the maximum compensation available for your claim so that you have the resources to restore your life. The sex trafficking attorneys of Dolman Law Group are invested in supporting survivors of sexual exploitation throughout the personal injury claims process, even if we need to take your case to trial.

As personal injury lawyers who have worked closely with survivors for the past decade, we have heard sexual abuse survivors express that accountability is just as important to them as the financial restitution a personal injury lawsuit offers. At Dolman Law Group, we are dedicated to pursuing both goals on your behalf. We encourage sex trafficking survivors who are interested in pursuing a claim for compensation against a negligent hotel to schedule a free consultation by calling us at (727) 451-6900 or completing our online contact form.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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