The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) has taken a significant step forward in bringing a measure of justice to survivors of sex trafficking this week. NCOSE is co-counsel on a case that was filed against nationwide hotel chain Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Inc. and others for knowingly facilitating the sex trafficking of a 16-year-old girl beginning in 2014. For years, the girl was trafficked in and out of several hotels owned by Wyndham and other chains in Santa Clara County, California.
In recent years, the hotel industry has largely stepped up and recognized the problem of sex trafficking happening in and around hotels across the country. Wyndham and the other hotel chains in this case clearly have not. For years, Wyndham-owned chains like Super 8 ignored the evidence of sex trafficking and abuse happening on-site. In the case of this lawsuit, there was an endless parade of older men coming in and out of the child’s room, large quantities of used condoms left in the room, excessive requests for sheets and room cleaning services, and other obvious signs that the hotel employees clearly and willfully ignored.
We believe that corporations must not be allowed to facilitate, perpetrate, or profit from sexual exploitation of any kind. While some may believe that this ideal is a given or that it goes without saying, the reality this lawsuit exposes is that Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Inc. profited off of the repeated and commercialized rape of a child.
For more detailed information, read the below summary of the case from the NCOSE Law Center. Warning: some of the language and events described are graphic.
Wyndham Hotels Sex Trafficking Case Summary
NCOSE filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division. Co-counsel are Kim Adams (Levin Papantonio), Christopher Paulos (Levin Papantonio), Kathryn Avila (Levin Papantonio), and Eric Bauer. The plaintiff, B.M., was 16 years old when her trafficking began at the Defendant hotels in 2014. Defendants are Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Inc., Choice Hotels International, Inc. and G6 Hospitality, LLC. B.M. was trafficked throughout Santa Clara County, California at Super 8 (Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Inc.), Clarion Inn (Choice Hotels International, Inc.), and Motel 6 (G6 Hospitality, LLC). For two years, Plaintiff’s traffickers rented two adjoining rooms at the Super 8 and Clarion Inn. Plaintiff was one of several other girls that were being simultaneously trafficked in these two rooms.
Each girl, including minor Plaintiff B.M., would be forced to perform commercial sex acts with ten to fifteen men a day.
Clarion Inn employees threatened to eject Plaintiff B.M. and her traffickers, but never took further action. Despite these threats, Plaintiff B.M. and several other victims continued to be trafficked on the premises.
For one month, Plaintiff B.M. was trafficked at the Motel 6, where she was raped hundreds of times for the profit of her pimp and to the benefit of Defendant G6. Plaintiff was forced to perform commercial sex acts with up to twenty (20) men a day.
Day after day, a procession of adult men would enter minor Plaintiff B.M.’s room, stay for 15 minutes to an hour on average, and then leave. One of Plaintiff’s traffickers had a personal relationship with the front desk employee at the Motel 6. Through this relationship, Plaintiff’s trafficker was able to secure a room in the back of the hotel, out of sight from most of the other patrons and passerby. This front desk employee would also notify the trafficker when law enforcement officials were on or near the premises.
Through hotel staff and employees, Defendants knew or should have known that Plaintiff B.M. was being trafficked for sex due to, but not limited to:
- large amounts of used condoms, empty lube bottles, and other sex-related items in the hotel room; payments for the rooms in cash;
- Plaintiff’s physical appearance (malnourished, bruised, beaten)
- A continuous procession of older men entering and leaving minor Plaintiff B.M.’s room;
- Excessive requests for sheets, cleaning supplies, room service
- The personal relationship between the front desk employees and Plaintiff’s Traffickers.
The Defendant Hotels all financially benefited from the sex trafficking of B.M., and other victims like her, and developed and maintained business models that attract and foster the commercial sex market for traffickers and buyers alike. Defendant Hotels enjoy the steady stream of income that sex traffickers bring to their hotel brands, such as the Super 8, Clarion Inn, and Motel 6.
Defendant Hotels financially benefit from their ongoing reputation for privacy, discretion, and the facilitation of commercial sex. Defendant Hotels failed to take any steps to alert the authorities, properly intervene in the situation, or take reasonable security steps to improve awareness of sex trafficking and/or prevent sexual exploitation on their properties. Defendant Hotels maintained their deficiencies to maximize profits by:
- Reducing the cost of training employees and managers on how to spot the signs of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and what steps to take;
- Not refusing room rentals, or reporting guests to law enforcement, in order to maximize the number of rooms occupied and the corresponding rates, even if the rooms rented were to sex traffickers or buyers;
- Lowering security costs by not having proper security measures, including, but not limited to, employing qualified security officers to actively combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
NCOSE has had an ongoing project for years addressing the concerns of sexual exploitation taking place in hotels. Many people believe sex trafficking only happens in the shadows. Clearly, this is not true. It is happening at the very hotels that thousands of people use every day for safe, comfortable travel.
Although we can never take away the trauma and pain she suffered, we hope this lawsuit will attempt to bring a degree of justice to this survivor of child sex trafficking as we hold corporations accountable for their actions. No one should profit from sexual exploitation, and NCOSE will work tirelessly to ensure that corporations like Wyndham are not allowed to do something like this again and to prevent future victims from ever having to experience the suffering that sex trafficking and forced prostutition causes.
About the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center
For too many years there was no voice in the courts and legislatures advocating for human dignity and against all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation. In the vacuum of a national legal strategy on these issues, pro-sexual exploitation lobbyists stepped in to promote radical and damaging legislation and legal precedents promoting pornography, prostitution, sexually grooming children for abuse, increasing sex trafficking, and more.
Against this backdrop, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) believed it imperative to establish a Law Center to stand as both a sentry and bulwark against the destructive individuals and entities that deny or which facilitate sexual abuse and exploitation.