Atlanta/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on June 12, 2024
Red Roof Inn Under Scrutiny in Atlanta Sex Trafficking Lawsuit as Landmark Trial BeginsSource: Google Street View

Jury selection began for a case that puts the spotlight on Red Roof Inn, with allegations of sex trafficking at two of its Atlanta establishments. The suit involves eleven plaintiffs who are taking on the hotel chain and the operators of the two specific locations. The trial stands as a potential landmark, questioning the accountability of hotel brands in situations where illicit activities occur under their roof.

Public outcry has been growing, with online platforms like Google reviews and Trip Advisor reflecting concerns from previous guests. According to an interview with Emma Hetherington, director of the University of Georgia School of Law Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic, there are numerous reports stating, "This is definitely happening here, there is trafficking here, look at what I’m seeing on these properties," according to WABE. The properties in question allegedly played host to a myriad of trafficked individuals, the signs of which, Hetherington argues, should have been evident.

Federal law comes down hard on those who profit from human trafficking, particularly when there's knowledge—or an implication of knowledge—that such acts are occurring. Hetherington mentioned in the WABE report that proof of such complicity could lead to punitive damages against the involved parties.

The trial, therefore, not only seeks justice for the plaintiffs, but also aims to send a clear message to the hospitality industry. Hetherington underscored the scale of the issue by noting in her interview, that at times, "a majority of the hotel’s business came from trafficking transactions," as reported by WABE. The implications of this trial could extend far beyond just Red Roof Inn, potentially ushering in an era where national hotel brands face greater scrutiny and, ultimately, responsibility for the activities that take place within their walls.