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Hotel Liability for Sex Trafficking – Lawyer for Sexual Abuse Victims

Hotel Liability for Sex Trafficking Lawyer for Sexual Abuse Victims compensation lawyer attorney sue

Sex trafficking is a crime that occurs in many locations, including hotels and motels, where it’s expected that people will move in and out of the rooms on a frequent basis. Furthermore, people expect a high level of privacy when they rent a hotel room, which makes them ideal locations for criminal activity, like using coercion, force, or fraud to sell someone for sex and keep them trapped in this horrible situation.

California hotels are required to train staff on the signs of human trafficking and what to do if they suspect this type of activity on the premises. A recent change in the laws occurred on January 1, 2023, when Assembly Bill 1788 went into effect. Codified as Civil Code section 52.65, AB 1788 makes hotels legally liable if they are negligent in their duty to report sex trafficking on the property.

Specifically, the law refers to supervisory employees, like shift managers, as they are ultimately responsible for the safety of guests and visitors. If a supervisory employee was aware of sex trafficking at the hotel or should have known about it, yet failed to inform law enforcement, hotels can be charged with civil penalties ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per violation. Furthermore, the hotel’s liability can serve as grounds for a lawsuit by the victim or their family members.

If you or someone in your family is a victim of sex trafficking, please allow us the opportunity to advise you of your legal rights. You may be eligible to sue the hotel for negligence and obtain compensation for medical expenses, emotional distress, and other damages resulting from your experience. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case review with a California sex trafficking lawsuit attorney.

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What is a Supervisory Employee?

This may seem like a silly question, but it’s essential that you have an understanding of how a “supervisory employee” is defined according to Assembly Bill 1788. Under the law, this term is not defined by a specific job title. Rather, it’s described as someone who “holds authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend this action…”

Basically, these are people that have a great deal of authority over the other employees, and whose duties are “are not substantially similar to those of their subordinates.” So, in that sense, we would normally think of a hotel manager rather than a maid or front desk clerk under this definition. Depending on the type of lodgings, the owner may be the only person that’s in a “supervisory” role (common with motels).

In the next section, we will talk about the responsibility these individuals have, along with motel and hotel owners, if they knew about or suspected that someone on the property was being sexually trafficked.

Your Right to Sue the Hotel

The responsibility that we legally have to protect others from harm is known as liability, and this concept is critical to understanding your rights if you or your loved one was sexually trafficked at a hotel, motel, or resort.

As we mentioned, hotels owners already were obligated by law to provide training to their employees on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking. But the training could be as short as 20 minutes, and there was no legal liability for the business, even if it’s clear that they knew about, or should have known about the criminal activity taking place in the rooms of anywhere else on the premises.

AB 1788 changed all that, and as of January 1, 2023, hotels owners and supervisory staff are classified as mandatory reporters, meaning they must report all incidents of suspicion of sexual trafficking. In essence, the law recognizes the fact that many of these businesses prioritize profits over safety by allowing this type of activity to take place on the premises without any measures to safeguard the guests and sex workers.

We fully support laws like Assembly Bill 1788 that are used to combat the use of hotels and other rented lodgings, thus making these places less favorable to sexual traffickers. It’s also important to hold hotel owners and employees accountable if they turn a blind eye to human trafficking or profit from “from participating in a venture that the employee knew or acted in reckless disregard of the activity constituting sex trafficking activity within the hotel.”

Average Value of a Sex Trafficking Lawsuit

Settlements are almost always in the 6 to 7 figure range on behalf of sexual trafficking victims, and possibly in the 8-figure range ($10,000,000 or more) for child victims or those who ended up with severe physical and emotional injuries due to their experience. At our law firm, sexual abuse victims receive anywhere from $450,000 to $5,000,000 and above, though cases where the victim was sexually assaulted typically settle for over $1,000,000.

Factors that affect settlement values include the number of years you were trafficked, whether you were physically abused, drugged, etc. by the people that trafficked you, and what acts of assault / abuse you were subjected to. The business owner’s role in the abuse you suffered matters as well, like whether they knew for months, maybe even years, the sexual trafficking was taking place at their hotel. Or, maybe they were a part of the operation, meaning they were getting a cut of the money or some other benefit by staying quiet or aiding the traffickers.

As you can see, there are a number of issues we need to consider before we can determine a human trafficking lawsuit settlement value. To discuss how much you can potentially receive from a sex trafficking hotel liability case, schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

How Long will My Lawsuit Take to Settle?

On average, we find that the majority of lawsuits involving sexual abuse take 1 to 2 years, particularly when the victim is a minor. Cases on behalf of adult victims may settle in 6 months or less, but this is a very speedy resolution when it comes to lawsuits for sexual exploitation and assault. Some of these cases do end up in court, and that means it can take over 3 years to recover compensation as a sexual trafficking victim. However, over 90% of lawsuits are settled out of court, even if your case is scheduled for a trial. So, it’s more than likely that a fair settlement will be negotiated with the hotel’s insurance company. But it can take anywhere from a few months to over 2 years to get to that point.

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Statute of Limitations to Sue a Hotel for Sex Trafficking

As someone that was 18 years old and above at the time you were trafficked, you normally have 10 years from the incident of abuse (or date of most recent incident) to sue the hotel owner and anyone else that owed you a duty of care. On the other hand, victims who were minors at the time have a much longer statute of limitations.

Survivors of child sexual abuse are allowed 22 years from turning 18 to file a claim for monetary damages. Under this rule, it would seem that the age of 40 is the deadline to seek restitution from the people that turned a blind eye to your pain and suffering. However, an exception can be made for those who experience a delayed discovery of injuries from sexual abuse.

Most of these cases refer to individuals who have spent years repressing what they went through. Most of them have never told anyone, not even their parents, closest friends, or intimate partners. But the trauma of sexual abuse must be expressed and dealt with; otherwise, the victim’s mental health is likely to suffer. By the time a child sexual abuse survivor gets help from a professional therapist and learns how they were harmed by these incidents, they may have exceeded the 22-year statute of limitations.

Another possibility is that the victim will experience a moment of discovery on their own when they come across information on sexual trafficking and the effect that is has on the victims. By doing their own research, they may recognize that their anger issues, suicidal thoughts, and other forms of psychological damage are all connected to being trafficked as a child. However the moment of realization happens, those who are already over the age of 40 still have 5 years to file a child sex trafficking lawsuit under California law.

The deadline to file a sex trafficking lawsuit is a complicated issue, which you should discuss with an experienced attorney. Please contact our law firm to verify how long you have for a sexual abuse lawsuit if the hotel where you were being trafficked failed to contact the police or another victim service organization.

Call DTLA Law Group

Our legal team is standing by to assist you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We know that for many of you, speaking out about your experience is immensely difficult, but we want to assure you that our attorneys have decades of experience with victims of sexual abuse. We will listen to your story and treat you with the compassion and respect you deserve. At the end of the day, our job is to advise you of your rights and let you decide if going ahead with a lawsuit is the best course of action.

We have a Zero Fee Guarantee that covers all victims of sexual assault and abuse. If you choose to hire us, you will pay $0 for the entire duration of our case. Legal fees are paid to us by the hotel and any other party you are suing, and only if we succeed in recovering your settlement.

Contact us today and talk to a sex trafficking lawyer about the legal options that are available to you.

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