In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a teenager is suing a motel, the Roosevelt Inn, claiming the defendants named in her lawsuit knew she was being sex trafficked there for two years, knowingly profiting from her exploitation. She was just 14 when she was reportedly forced into the illegal sex trade and engaged in sex with over 1,000 men, from 2013 through 2014, some of them over four times her own age.
People reported that the civil lawsuit was filed by Nadeem Bezar, with the Philadelphia-based firm Kline & Specter PC, the lawyer of the teenage girl “in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.” The lawsuit accuses the motel, the manager, Yagna Patel, and the parent company, UFVS Management Company, of renting rooms as a way to profit from the teen’s prostitution.
According to CBS 8 San Diego, officials said the teen girl’s civil lawsuit, is the first civil suit to be tried under the state’s human trafficking law since it was enacted in 2014. CBS 8 San Diego referred to the teenager with the initials “M.B.” and reported that Bezar said what happened to his client “is something that should have been stopped or addressed.” He argued, that motel management had a duty to protect people when they are on company property.
The teen’s lawyer alleged in a statement that the girl was just 14 years old when she was forced into the illegal sex trade, beginning in 2013. She was exploited through 2014. The Philadelphia girl is now 17. The statement from her lawyers quotes from the lawsuit, saying while she was at the Roosevelt Inn, she “was ‘visibly treated in an aggressive manner’ by traffickers.”
According to CBS Philadelphia, the teen girl was paid $50 to have sex with several hundred men at the motel. The Roosevelt Inn allegedly provided rooms for human traffickers; however, Patel, denied having any knowledge of the activity.
The complaint argues that the defendants knew or in the least had constructive knowledge that the victim was being sexually exploited at the motel. Furthermore, the complaint alleges that the defendants named in the lawsuit failed to intervene or contact police as a way of putting a stop to the trafficking. Instead, they continued to rake in revenue from renting rooms.
The teen girl’s attorneys are calling the civil suit the first among many other lawsuits that will be filed against motel and hotel owners who have allegedly profited from sex trafficking. Bezar called the practice an epidemic that is ongoing.
The lawsuit, filed by Bezar on behalf of the unnamed teen girl, states that the people who trafficked the teen went so far as to run ads on the Internet, listing the teen under a fake name. The ad told customers to call a specific phone number, where they could then agree on a cash price in exchange for sex. After they did that, the customers were allegedly told where to meet up with the girl, the Roosevelt Inn.
The lawsuit alleges that a man at the Roosevelt Inn, calling himself “Abdul,” would take on the role of the desk clerk at the motel. Abdul, would allegedly direct men who came to the motel looking to have sex with underage girls to the area of the motel where the girl was being held. The lawsuit further alleges that Abdul knew the teen and other underage children were compelled to perform sex for money, and that the defendants know Abdul’s true identity.
CBS 8 San Diego reported that Bezar and his client hope the civil lawsuit becomes a threat to hotels and motels so they will stop allowing this type of behavior to take place. He went on to say that those who look to profit from this kind of illegal activity are going to face consequences.
Today, the teen girl Bezar is representing is living with her family. He added that she is “struggling” and making an effort to put her life back together. In her lawsuit, the teen girl is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $50,000.
In Philadelphia, a teen girl is suing the Roosevelt Inn, where she was held captive and was sex trafficked for two years, beginning in 2013 when she was just 14 years old. Also named in the civil lawsuit are the manager of the motel, Yagna Patel, and its parent company, UFVS Management Company. They are accused of profiting from the girl’s prostitution.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Google Earth