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article imageGirl, 17, sues motel for facilitating human trafficking

By Arthur Weinreb     Mar 14, 2017 in World
Philadelphia - A 17-year-old girl is suing a Philadelphia motel claiming the motel facilitated her being forced to provide sexual services. The lawsuit is the first of its kind under a Pennsylvania law that holds businesses liable if they facilitate human trafficking.
The lawsuit was launched Friday in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. The teen is seeking $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from the Roosevelt Inn, manager Yagna Patel and UFVS Management Company, the motel’s parent company.
The girl, known as M.B., alleges she was forced into the sex trade in 2013 when she was 14 and was trafficked out of the motel for almost two years. The girl claims the manager of the motel knew or ought to have known she was the victim of human trafficking and the motel benefited financially from her sexual exploitation.
According to the lawsuit
the girl was forced to have sex with more than 1,000 men during the time she was held captive by her pimps at the motel. She alleges there were so many signs she was being trafficked, the management and employees of the motel had to know what was going on.
The suit alleges the teen’s traffickers advertised her services on the Internet and when men appeared in the lobby, they were shown her room by a clerk named “Abdul.” She also claims there were a lot of signs indicating her predicament. Men as well as other minors were often seen going in and out of her room that often contained used condoms and smelled of marijuana. The "Do not disturb" sign was almost always on her door. M.B. also alleges when employees of the motel saw her, she often appeared frightened and was dressed in a sexually provocative manner.
Philly.com reports, Patel, 72, denies any knowledge of M.B. being trafficked. Patel, who worked at the motel for 30 years said, “We just rent the room and that’s all we can do.” He added the motel worked closely with the police and forced those who were unruly in the rooms to leave.
Prosecutors in Philadelphia have called the Roosevelt Inn “the epicenter of human trafficking” and in pretty well all cases, the victims have been found at the motel. But Assistant District Attorney Erin O’Brien said Patel has always cooperated in the past and has appeared in court as a prosecution witness.
One of M.B.’s attorneys, Tom Kline, said this is the first lawsuit of its kind but more will come against hotel and motel owners. Kline said these owners will be held accountable when they “knowingly allow victimization of the most vulnerable in our society.”
Pennsylvania's Human Trafficking Act was enacted in 2014. Among its provisions, businesses that facilitate or knowingly assist in human trafficking can be subject to fines, loss of their business licences and other sanctions the court finds appropriate.
M.B. was able to eventually escape from her traffickers and was reunited with her family. She is currently receiving therapy.
More about Human trafficking, roosevelt motel philadelphia, human trafficking law pennsylvania, philadelphia district attorney's office, lawsuit against motel for human trafficking
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