Motel Accused of Turning Blind Eye to Child-Sex Trafficking

PHILADELPHIA (CN) — A teenage victim of sex trafficking claims in court that her predicament was obvious but ignored by the Philadelphia motor lodge where she was put to work.

Identifying herself only by initials in the March 10 complaint, MB says her traffickers brought her to the Roosevelt Motor Inn in 2013. Since MB is turning 19 this September, she would have been about 13 or 14 at the time.

A woman who answered the front-desk phone at the Roosevelt Inn refused comment on the complaint in the Court of Common Pleas.

In the complaint, MB says a front-desk staffer identified simply as Abdul was responsible for revealing her location at the motel to the clients who would pay to have sex with her.

“‘Abdul’ was fully aware that minor-plaintiff and other underage children were compelled to perform sex for money,” the complaint states.

During her “extended stays” at the motel from 2013 to 2014, MB says, she was forced to engage in numerous commercial sex acts per day.

Older men always accompanied MB on the hotel premises, according to the complaint, which notes that her fear and anxiety was plain for anyone to see.

The traffickers “visibly treated [MB] in an aggressive manner,” and MB was “dressed in a sexually explicit manner” when she walked the hotel’s hallways, according to the complaint.

MB notes that her captors paid in cash, refused housekeeping service, kept men posted outside her door, and were handy with the do-not-disturb sign.

“The motel room where minor-plaintiff engaged in commercial sex acts contained used condoms and condom wrappers and the room frequently smelled of marijuana,” the complaint states.

In addition to the inn, the complaint names as defendants hotel owner Yagna Patel and the company, UFVS Management.

MB says they profited off her ordeal and wants punitive damages, alleging negligence and emotional distress.

Thomas Kline and Nadeem Bezar, attorneys for MB at the firm Kline & Specter, did not return a request for comment.

They have been quoted by other news outlets as saying that the case is a novel application of the three-year-old amendment to the Pennsylvania Human Trafficking Law.

“Employees failed to take any steps to prevent human sex trafficking at the Roosevelt Inn and instead permitted heinous and unspeakable acts to occur and profited from them,” the complaint states.