Pursuing the Fullest Compensation Against Businesses That Facilitate Human Trafficking
While sex trafficking has received increased attention from the media and lawmakers in recent years, many individuals forced to engage in sexual slavery continue to endure devastating physical and emotional ordeals. Nearly 21 million people are bought and sold to be forced into sexual slavery and prostitution. Tragically, women and young girls constitute 96 percent of these human trafficking victims. The criminal justice system can punish this type of contemptable exploitation. Although a criminal conviction provides punishment for the illegal conduct, it offers little or no financial compensation for the victim. Even if the perpetrator is ordered to pay monetary restitution, the exploiter often will not have the financial means to compensate the victim for the harm suffered. Fortunately, sexual exploitation victims across the U.S. are fighting back by filing lawsuits seeking compensation from businesses that facilitate sex trafficking like hotels, truck stops, internet websites, transportation providers, and others.
Parker Waichman LLP represents clients that suffer deep physical and emotional scars from the abuse they have suffered. Our attorneys believe this egregious type of criminal exploitation merits holding parties financially accountable if they benefit from their tacit or explicit facilitation of sex trafficking. Parker Waichman LLP clients who have found comfort and the resources to rebuild their lives by retaining our law firm to file lawsuits that hold companies that enable sex traffickers liable for their unethical conduct.
What Is Human Sex Trafficking?
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) enacted by the federal government in 2000 defines labor trafficking as knowingly obtaining or providing the labor, services, or commercial sex acts of another person through coercion whether physical or psychological. The coercion applied can be overt, such as physical abuse or a threat of deportation or more subtle. Significantly, TVPA encompasses a broad scope of conduct that includes knowingly enticing, recruiting, transporting, providing, harboring, or receiving anything of value for participating in a venture engaged in human trafficking with knowledge of the use of coercion, force, or fraud to compel participation in a commercial sex act
Can Sex Trafficking Victims Sue Businesses That Benefit from Forced Commercial Sex Acts?
The federal government created a private right of action for victims of sex trafficking through the
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003. Pursuant to this private right of action, a person who has been forced to engage in prostitution or other forms of commercial sexual activity can bring a lawsuit seeking damages and attorneys fees. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA of 2008) expanded the effectiveness of this right of victims to pursue a lawsuit for compensation by imposing liability on parties who “knowingly benefit” from what they know or should have known was a trafficking venture. This provision means that companies like motels, transportation companies, and internet sites cannot simply turn a blind eye toward evidence suggesting their business is being used to promote the commercial sexual exploitation of trafficking victims.
Do I Need an Attorney to Pursue Financial Compensation?
While exploitation victims forced to participate in the sex trade might have the right to sue businesses for their complicity in allowing such conduct, these cases involve complex factual and legal issues. Our experienced human trafficking lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP understand the complex matrix of federal and state theories of liability that might be successful in these cases. Attorneys seasoned in litigating these types of cases will know whether to pursue your case in state or federal court as well as the legal theories most likely to be successful in your situation.
When suing a hotel or apartment owner or other business that profits from sex trafficking, a careful investigation and analysis of the facts are necessary to prove that the business owner “should have known” about the coerced sex acts. Our lawyers look for evidence that might include an unusual number of used condoms left in a room, a high number of male visitors with no luggage, a much older man with a young woman, observed acts of physical abuse or threats, and other signs of prostitution or coerced sex.
Do You Have Legal Grounds for Filing a Human Trafficking Lawsuit?
While the civil-remedy provision of the TVPA constitutes the most common legal theory in civil litigation against businesses that enable human trafficker, our law firm also might pursue a claim based on common law or state statutes. In Ricchio v. McLean, the Federal Appellate Court First Circuit found sufficient evidence for a case to go forward against a corporation that owned a hotel as well as the hotel operator. The court relied on factual evidence that included the following:
- The operators ignored the victim’s pleas for help to flee the custody of the perpetrator.
- One of the operators high-fived the perpetrator while exclaiming that he was excited about “getting this thing going again.”
- The operators observed the obvious physical deterioration of the victim.
- The operators failing to act when the perpetrator grabbed and kicked the victim before forcing her back into the hotel room after she tried to flee.
The court noted that when taken together, these facts were sufficient to justify a determination of liability against the operators of the hotel and the corporation that owned the lodging facility. The operators and owners both benefited from allowing the sexual trafficking of the victim because they collected ongoing fees for the renting of rooms where the acts were to occur. The fact intensive nature of this analysis demonstrates why it is imperative to be represented by knowledgeable and experienced sex trafficking attorneys when seeking financial compensation in these lawsuits.
Our law firm also will evaluate the merits of bringing a negligence claim against parties like hotels, motels, resorts, and inns. Generally, lodging establishments must comply with a higher standard of care than the standard duty or ordinary care that applies in most negligence cases. The rationale for this more stringent standard rests on the fact that guests entrust hotels with their safety, and these facilities have superior knowledge of any potential risks. When owners of these businesses fail to implement reasonable precautions to prevent acts of violence against their guests, they can be liable for reasonably foreseeable harm to their guests.
Our law firm also might utilize human trafficking statutes under state law when pursuing liability for facilitating sex trafficking. In the wake of the passage of the TVPA, a human trafficking law has been passed by every state. State human trafficking statutes that provide a private right of action have been enacted by more than 40 states, and many of these statutes offer even more favorable provisions than the TVPA.
Our sex trafficking lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP evaluate the strategy that will provide the best prospect for a succesful verdict and the fullest financial recovery. We might pursue one or all of these legal theories or other legal claims depending on the specific facts and circumstances of a client’s case.
Why Sex Trafficking Victims Trust Parker Waichman LLP
Our law firm has developed a reputation for compassionate representation of victims of sexual exploitation and dogged pursuit of the maximum compensation for victims. Our commitment to maximizing our client’s recovery for lost wages, medical and counseling costs, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, punitive damage, and/or other appropriate damages has generated over $2 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. A few of the designations and awards our law firm has received include:
- Martindale-Hubbell: Highest “Preeminent AV Rating”
- Lawdragon: Highest “5 Dragons Rating”
- AVVO: Rating of 9.8 (Based on a 10.0 Scale)
- US News & World Report: Listed Among “Best Law Firms”
Our sex trafficking lawsuit attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP offer a free consultation to review your case and explain your legal rights and options. Legal claims against hotels, websites that promote advertisements (e.g. backpage.com), transportation providers (buses, commercial airlines, trains), truck stops, and other individuals and companies that facilitate human trafficking are subject to strict deadlines, so you should seek prompt legal advice to preserve your legal right to financial recovery. Speak to one of our attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP to pursue the compensation you need to move past your ordeal by contacting us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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