Four women forced into sex trafficking in Maryland are suing the owners of the hotel where they were kept, saying that the owners knew, or should have known, what was going on and did nothing to stop it.
The women were forcibly injected with heroin, and dressed in lingerie. Their picture was taken and posted on the internet. They were then forced to have sex at numerous hotels in the area. The main location of the sex-trafficking ring was the America’s Best Value Inn in Salisbury, reports Delmarvanow.
The ring was busted in 2014, and its leader, Cornelius Bridell, was sentenced to 145 years in prison.
The four women filed separate lawsuits on Friday in the Wicomico County Circuit Court.
Michael Belsky, the Baltimore attorney representing the women, said that it was clear enough to the owners about what was happening. He accused the owners of doing nothing, when they should have known what was going on in their hotel.
“These women were truly victimized. The events that were happening were at least highly suspicious if not utterly evident to the owners or the workers at the hotel, and yet they did nothing.”
The lawsuit says that drug and prostitution deals were often made in the parking lot, in the clear view of the front desk. It alleges that it should have been suspicious to owners when the ring would rent rooms for days at a time. Occupants in the room refused housekeeping services, but would accept towels through a door that was open barely enough to fit the towel through.
The owner rebutted, saying that that behavior isn’t uncommon, and that the owners “cannot force them” to let in the staff members.
Additionally, patrons of the hotel left complaints on travel websites about drug deals and prostitution taking place in the establishment.
Subh Properties LLC, the hotel’s local owner, and Vantage Hospitality Group, the parent company of the America’s Best Value Inn brand are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Kala “Kelly” Patel is the owner and general manager of the hotel that is being sued. She said that her staff does everything in their power to keep their patrons safe. She said that she was “shocked” when she was told about the sex-trafficking ring that was using her hotel to victimize these women.
Patel comes from a conservative family in which she raised her children to respect dating and marriage. Hard work is also important to her. She says that she often works from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The parent company that is also being sued in the lawsuit said in a statement that it takes “the issue of fighting human trafficking very seriously.”
The lawsuit does not call for a specific amount of monetary damages.
[Feature Photo: Google Maps/Nov. 2016]