How to Spot Sex Trafficking at Hotels

According to the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice,  “sex trafficking victims may interact with the community, but their trauma and fear keep them from seeking help.”

For many reasons, it’s tough for sex trafficking victims to escape on their own. Outside intervention is often their path to freedom, which means it is crucial for the public to be aware of red flags and warning signs that this activity is taking place around them.

According to the Polaris Project, one of the most common areas where sex trafficking and prostitution takes place is at hotels or motels.  Here are some common indicators of sex trafficking at hotels shared by Polaris to help put an end to the abusive crime.

Unusual Check-In Activity

There are several unusual check-in activities that may be associated with sex trafficking. Not all of these indicators are indicative of human trafficking on their own, but could be red flags if observed together:

  • Initial reservation for one night extended day by day
  • Multiple rooms booked under one name
  • Rooms booked with business card but paid in cash
  • Requests for a room overlooking parking lot or out of view of the front desk
  • Same female(s) returning for multiple visits with different men
  • Young adults abandoned or intentionally locked out

Sneaking Through the Side Door

Sex traffickers will often sneak girls or buyers in through a side door. Employees should monitor side entrances with surveillance cameras and be aware of any guests who are overly concerned with the cameras or entrance policies.

Someone Lingering or Waiting

Sex traffickers often keep a close watch on the girls or the room where the activities are taking place. If you’re staying on the same floor, here are the red flags you need to report to the front desk and police:

  • Someone lingering in hallway or by a certain door
  • Someone lingering in the parking lot after dropping off another person
  • Female dropped off and visits for only 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Excessive foot traffic into and out of the same room

What’s Inside the Room

There are a number of things inside a hotel room that hotel maids and employees should look for that may signal sex trafficking is taking place.

Red flags:

  • Frequent requests for new washcloths, towels, and linens
  • Large amounts of condoms, drugs, and sex paraphernalia
  • Very limited belongings for an extended stay
  • Rooms booked next to one another

These factors are not always a signal that sex trafficking is taking place, but, if a couple of factors are present, it’s worth reporting these signs to law enforcement.

If you know someone who has been a victim of the sex trade, experienced trial attorney Pat McDonough can help them find justice. Mr. McDonough seeks civil justice by going after hotels and motels. There are no costs to the survivor. Reach out for your free, 100% confidential, consultation.

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