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Randall Hood and Julia Flumian Representing Sex Trafficking Survivor in Lawsuit Against 2 Charleston Hotels

Attorneys S. Randall Hood and Julia Flumian are representing “Jane Doe” in a lawsuit against Relax Inn, Natraj Enterprises Inc, Creekside Lands Inn, Simi Hospitality, and the Montford Group, alleging the hotels, their owners, and their management groups were complicit in her being trafficked.

Ms. Doe alleges she was held against her will, threatened, intimidated, and abused by her sex trafficker whose actions were facilitated by the complicity of the Defendant Hotels. The suit alleges that she was “victimized and sexually exploited by her trafficker” at both the Relax Inn and the Creekside Lands Inn, which “turned a blind eye to the plague of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of vulnerable persons at their locations.”

Can hotels and motels be held liable for sex trafficking?

Yes, they can. Under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), an entity or individual who ignored signs of human trafficking can be held liable in civil court, as a form of premises liability. In the case of Ms. Doe, there were clear signs that she was a victim of trafficking which were ignored by the hotels’ staff, management, and owners, including:

  • Visible injuries on her body
  • Having her room guarded at all times
  • Not allowing housekeeping into her room for more than a week at a time
  • Paying for rooms in cash or with pre-paid cards

You can find a more robust list of indicators for trafficking here.

Where does most human trafficking occur in South Carolina?

In January 2021, WIS News 10 reported, SC Attorney general Alan Wilson said there were 139 cases of human trafficking in South Carolina, involving 179 victims. Of those cases, 96 involved sex trafficking, and nine involved sex and labor trafficking. The counties with the highest number of reported cases in 2020 were:

  1. Horry County
  2. Charleston County
  3. Greenville County
  4. Richland County
  5. Anderson County

Per the WIS News 10 report, the number of cases in other counties could be higher but appear lower because they are not being reported.

Contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or text “help” to 233733 if you are a victim or suspect human trafficking is happening in your community.

McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC fights for trafficking survivors throughout South Carolina. We provide a safe place to tell your story and discuss your goals, and treat you and your case with dignity. If you would prefer to work with a female attorney, we will ensure that you can. To learn more about how our sex assault attorneys can help, call us at 803-327-7800 or reach out to us through our contact page. We serve clients throughout South Carolina.