Landmark U.S. legal action was filed on Monday accusing several major hotel groups of profiting from sex trafficking on behalf of 13 women who claimed they were sold for sex in hotel rooms.
Twelve hotel chains were named and accused of knowing and ignoring warning signs that women and children were sold as sex slaves on their premises, according to the filing, a consolidation of 13 existing cases, in U.S. federal court in Columbus, Ohio.
The filing marked the first time the hotel industry – which has long been accused of serving as a breeding ground for sexual exploitation of women and children – faced action as a group.
The case drew together 13 separate actions that had been filed in Ohio, Massachusetts, Georgia, Texas and New York.
Among those named in the 13 cases were Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Red Roof Inn, Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, Best Western Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts Inc.