June 26, 2020
A person might face criminal charges and civil lawsuits for human sex trafficking in one state but not in another. Every state writes its own definition of what constitutes trafficking in their human trafficking state laws. The legal definitions vary from one state to another.
Some of the descriptions of human sex trafficking include coercing the victim by:
The actual trafficker can be liable both criminally and in civil court if the conduct satisfies the state’s human or sex trafficking statutes.
Although many sex traffickers are individuals or small groups of criminals, a business can be engaged in this practice. Some states provide criminal and civil penalties against business entities that knowingly participate in these crimes. Depending on the state, a company could lose its business license, get dissolved or reorganized by the court, and/or face fines as well as criminal charges.
Some commercial establishments appear to be legitimate businesses but are actually fronts for sex trafficking. Also, reputable companies in the hotel and hospitality industry might not participate actively in sex trafficking, but their employees turn a blind eye to suspicious behavior.
Since the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, there have been many additional legislative developments to ban and penalize human sex trafficking. Hotels can face criminal and civil liability if they notice possible trafficking but fail to act.
The justification for this liability is that failing to act allows the crimes to take place at the hotels. The perpetrators rent rooms at the hotels, which means that the venues receive financial gain from the illegal activity on the premises.
Hotels should train their employees to report instances in which they observe possible indicators of sex trafficking. Traffickers seldom bring their sex workers to the front desk of the hotel, so hotels need to be vigilant.
The workers who are most likely to notice suspicious activities are room service and housekeeping employees. Some examples of these factors include:
Of course, some of the more obvious signs of sex trafficking include when the victim looks frightened or anxious, wears inappropriate clothing, or gets mistreated in public by the trafficker. Many criminals, however, make an effort to hide their conduct.
Attorneys can increase the awareness of human sex trafficking issues through social media that targets trafficking victims and hotel employees. You can generate leads that provide evidence that a hotel ignores suspicious behavior that endangers the victims of these crimes.
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