Woman sues major hotel chains alleging they failed to stop sex trafficking at their properties

Posted at 4:18 AM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 04:23:54-05

A woman who says she was the victim of sex trafficking in 2012 and 2013 at multiple hotels in Oregon and Washington is suing six major hotel chains in federal court, saying they neglected trafficking happening “openly on hotel properties” and failed to intervene “to continue earning a profit.”

“Rather than taking timely and effective measures to thwart this epidemic,” the suit said. “Defendant Hotels have instead chosen to ignore the open and obvious presence of sex trafficking on their properties, enjoying the profit from rooms rented for this explicit and apparent purpose.

The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland, names Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc.; Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Choice Hotels Corporation; Extended Stay America, and Red Lion Hotels Corporation as defendants.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings said the hotel property where the suit alleges the trafficking took place is independently owned and operated, but issued a statement saying, “Hilton condemns all forms of human trafficking, including for sexual exploitation. As signatories of the ECPAT [formerly End Child Prostitution and Trafficking] Code since 2011, we are fully committed, in each and every one of our markets, to protecting individuals from all forms of abuse and exploitation. We expect our Team Members, as well as our business partners to help us meet this commitment. We require all our hotels, including franchises, to conduct training on identifying the signs of human trafficking and on how to report them.”

“We condemn human trafficking in any form,” Wyndham Hotels & Resorts said in a statement. “Through our partnerships with the International Tourism Partnership, ECPAT-USA, Polaris Project and other organizations that share the same values, we have worked to enhance our policies condemning human trafficking while also providing training to help our team members, as well as the hotels we manage, identify and report trafficking activities. We also make training opportunities available for our franchised hotels, which are independently owned and operated.”

Marriott International, Choice Hotels Corporation; Extended Stay America and Red Lion Hotels Corporation could not immediately be reached for comment.

The woman bringing the suit is identified as A.B. in the suit and was trafficked for commercial sex at the age of 22 in Oregon and Washington, the suit says.

“A.B. was subject to repeated instances of rape, physical abuse, verbal abuse, exploitation, psychological torment, and false imprisonment at the Defendants’ hotels from September 2012 to March 2013,” the suit alleges.