Lawsuits Against Sex Trafficking in Jacksonville, Florida
Often times we think of issues like human trafficking only happening far away from our home or city. However, Jacksonville, Florida is a hot spot for sex trafficking. The many hotels that line Phillips Highway or Lane Avenue, the hotels close to the airport and even the larger chain hotels are all places where sex trafficking is taking place. There are groups of girls and women who are brought through the city on a continuing cycle up and down interstate 95, through Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and beyond. There are also the victims that start and stay here in our city. The young girls that are preyed upon at the bus stop. The women who has fallen on hard times and meets a man who appears to care and wants to help. The story often starts out the same and soon turns to a life of fear, drug addiction and sexual slavery.
There are places to get help here in Jacksonville, including the Delores Bar Weaver Policy Center and The Demp Project. Survivors can get counseling, treatment, job training, housing and help. They can hopefully forge a pathway out.
There is also a pathway to justice and a possible financial foundation that will help survivors move forward in their life and hold accountable those businesses that directly or negligently support human trafficking. Lawyers have begun to go after the hotels that help sex trafficking continue. Lawsuits are being filed in federal court. Hotels, truck stops, strip clubs and night clubs are all possible targets for a lawsuit.
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA)
The TVPRA takes steps to hold corporate and government entities accountable for practices that directly or indirectly support human trafficking.
The Wall Street Journal recently had an article discussing the current lawsuits.
There are lawsuits popping up across the country accusing some of the country’s best known hotel brands of ignoring sex trafficking at their properties. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Marriott International Inc. and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc. are among the defendants
The suits represent a rare use of a federal sex-trafficking statute against large corporate entities, legal experts say. In addition to monetary damages, the plaintiffs are seeking agreements that force hotel parent companies to implement broad measures to prevent trafficking, including at their franchises.
The suits argue staff should have recognized signs of trafficking: bottles of lubricant, boxes of condoms and excessive requests for sheets and towels. Staffers saw men come to the same rooms, often more than a dozen each night, without luggage. Some accusers alleged they screamed for help or were beaten while doors were open.
See the full WSJ Article
Human Trafficking Problem Here in Jacksonville, Florida
I have heard stories of hotel security taking money or "favors" to look the other way. There are hotel managers and owners who will take cash to allow women to be brought to their hotels. Strip clubs who will exploit underage girls.
The problem is here in Jacksonville and the civil justice system is one way to combat this evil. Through the civil courts, businesses like hotels, strip clubs, truck stops or wherever sex trafficking takes place can be held accountable. Maybe some of the places go bankrupt and shut down, maybe the word gets out. Hopefully a survivor can achieve a financial settlement or verdict that can provide a cushion and be a part of their recovery.
Questions on Your Rights as a Survivor of Trafficking, Rape or Sexual Abuse?
Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.