DULUTH, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A Gwinnett County law firm has filed federal lawsuits against four metro Atlanta hotels for their alleged involvement in sex trafficking.
Attorneys with Anderson, Tate and Carr said each of the four lawsuits represents one sex trafficking victim, though each of them identified the same four hotels as venues for the alleged activity.
"It's not a coincidence that four different plaintiffs in these cases happened to be at the same hotels," said attorney Jonathan Tonge.
The lawsuit seeks damages from the owners, operators and others at the Red Roof Inn on Corporate Plaza in Smyrna, the Suburban Extended Stay on Peachtree Industrial Court in Chamblee, the La Quinta Inn on North Pointe Drive in Alpharetta and the Extended Stay America on Hammond Drive in Atlanta.
According to the filing, the first plaintiff, identified only as "Jane Doe 1," was trafficked from 2011 to 2016 at each of the defendants' hotels.
"At every level, defendants participated in the sex trafficking venture by renting the room, received a benefit from the room rental, developed and maintained business models that attracted and fostered sex trafficking, all while defendants knew or should have known sex trafficking was occurring at their hotels. In fact, defendants often willingly chose to ignore or participate in the sex trafficking of plaintiff at their hotels, rather than do anything," the suit alleges.
Attorneys for the victims claim that traffickers paid hotel employees to act as lookouts and warn them when police were on the property. One employee, the said, refused to give a trafficking victim a ride when she asked for help and instead notified her trafficker.
"That night, the victim's trafficker (also Plaintiff's trafficker) came to the victim's room and ruthlessly beat here for confiding in the employee and trying to escape, saying 'You think somebody is going to help you? None of these people are going to help you,'" reads the lawsuit.
The suits seek unspecified damages, but attorneys said they hope it serves as a deterrent to hotels who allow sex trafficking to take place on their property.
"I'm 100 percent confident it has already made a difference that we actually filed the lawsuit," explained Patrick McDonough. "Who knows how successful we will be ultimately in the long run, but just filing the lawsuit and standing up and fighting for these survivors already feel like it's a victory."
FOX 5 News stopped by each of the hotels named in the lawsuit for a comment, but so far none of them have responded to that request.
The attorneys have set up a website for trafficking victims to get more information about the case: inthelifelaw.com