A 17-year-old girl has filed a lawsuit against Philadelphia motel owners, claiming they provided rooms to human traffickers who forced her into having underage sex with over 1,000 men.
The girl claims that the Roosevelt Inn in the north east of the city regularly provided rooms to the men, who would force girls into having sex with men up to four times their age.
The claim is said to be the first such lawsuit of its kind under Pennsylvania’s 2014 human trafficking statute and names defendants as the motel, its manager Yagna Patel and the motel’s parent company, UFVS Management Company.
The teenager claims that between 2013 and 2015 she was enslaved and forced into performing sex acts at the Roosevelt Inn.
The lawsuit alleges that the motel owners regularly provided rooms to the traffickers for its own financial gain, while the victim was paid $50 for sex acts conducted on their property.
“This child was forced into sex slavery, paid to do things with men double, triple, quadruple her age,” attorney Nadeem Bezar told CBS News.
“She is devastated by what happened to her. She’s just trying to piece her life back together,” added Bezar.
In a statement, Bezar’s fellow attorney Tom Kline said: “This lawsuit is the first among many to come that will hold hotel and motel owners, among others, accountable when they knowingly allow victimization of the most vulnerable in our society.”
Identified in the lawsuit only as M.B. the teenager is claiming more than $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
The proceedings claim that the victim was dressed up in sexy outfits and treated “aggressively. while traffickers are alleged to have advertised sex with the girl online.
The litigation adds that the room where the sex acts took place contained used condoms and condom wrappers and smelt frequently of marijuana – signifying illegal conduct taking place in the room.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer the girl managed to escape and reconnect with her family after two years of abuse.
Those responsible for trafficking her have been convicted and sentenced to prison, although the litigation does not name them.
It is alleged that motel manager Yagna Patel, 72, knew what was happening at the property, although he denies the claims.
Patel, who said he has managed the inn for 30 years, said he had “no knowledge” of the teenage girl in the lawsuit being victimized or of any other minors who may have been exploited as prostitutes in the motel’s rooms. “We just rent the room and that’s all we can do,” he said.
H/T: Yahoo! News