When Robert Kraft was arrested recently for allegedly soliciting prostitution in Florida, the story not only brought unwanted attention to the billionaire owner of the NFL New England Patriots, it also focused on the epidemic of human sex trafficking. As USA Today put it: “The more significant story is that of the women whose names we may never know, Chinese immigrants who police believe were lured to America with the promise of jobs, but instead found themselves in ‘sexual servitude.’” The problem is more widespread than only immigrants brought to the United States under false pretenses but also American citizens kidnapped or lured into the illegal sex trade, including many who are just girls. The National Human Trafficking Resources Center noted 17,819 incidents of sex trafficking were reported in this country over the last 10 years, and those are just the reported cases, the tip of the iceberg. The Daily Beast quoted Florida’s Martin County Sheriff William Snyder as describing some of these horrid scenes: “Armed men driving luxury vehicles moved sex slaves between massage parlors across Florida as part of a ‘transnational human-trafficking ring.’”
The problem isn’t only at massage parlors, but also with pimps holding girls captive and then transporting them to hotels and selling them for sex. That scene hit close to home as Kline & Specter attorneys filed lawsuits accusing Philadelphia hotel owners and management of turning a blind eye to what was occurring in their establishments, all to make money. The most recent lawsuits alleged that two girls, ages 15 and 16, were held against their will and taken repeatedly over several months to the hotels -- the Roosevelt Inn and Days Inn, both located on Roosevelt Boulevard, and North American Motor Inns, on City Avenue. Under a 2014 Pennsylvania statute that allows establishments to be held civilly accountable for allowing sex trafficking to take place at their establishments, the complaint charged the hotels failed to take steps to prevent sex trafficking “and instead permitted heinous and unspeakable acts to occur” on their premises. The two girls were freed only following separate raids by the FBI and police. “The victimization of these young girls should not be tolerated. The criminal process has punished the traffickers. It’s now time to hold the hotel owners accountable. Plain and simple, it’s not acceptable to profit from the sexual assault of children,” Kline & Specter attorney Nadeem Bezar, who filed the lawsuit with colleagues Tom Kline, Emily Marks and Kyle Nocho, told the news media. The suit claimed the girls were solicited, held and then taken to the hotels, where they were drugged, dressed in sexually explicit clothing and forced to have sex with paying customers. The hotels, it stated, took cash for rooms. Hotel staff allegedly had knowledge of what was occurring.
A year earlier, the law firm filed the first civil action under Pennsylvania’s 2014 human trafficking statute, also against the owner and operator of the Roosevelt Inn on behalf of a 14-year-old girl who was enslaved and forced to perform sexual acts with men.
The lawsuit condemned human sex trafficking, which it describes as “a form of modern-day slavery that exists throughout the United States” and worldwide. It stated: “Globally, there are approximately five million people trapped in forced exploitation. It is a form of evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable.”
If you or a loved one have been the victim of sex trafficking or sexual abuse, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Kline & Specter, where you will get a confidential and free evaluation of your case.