NEWS – Police Arrest Man Who Forced Teen Into Prostitution at a Hotel
According to WTVJ-TV in Miami, police have charged a local man who they say “pimped a teenage girl out of a Hialeah hotel” while the suspect was already in jail on a separate charge.
42-year-old Edward Lee was arrested on charges that included: human trafficking and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. By law, forcing any minor to have sex is considered human trafficking.
Trial lawyer Todd Michaels of The Haggard Law Firm said “For too long, human trafficking has been ignored. After drug dealing, it is the second most committed criminal act in the world. The horrors that the victims face are beyond comprehension—forced prostitution, slavery, and other forms of torture with no escape.” (Todd Michaels Bio)
The NBC television affiliate reported “According to a police report, Lee kept communication with his girlfriend while he was behind bars and ordered her to force the 14-year-old victim into prostitution out of the hotel off Okeechobee Road in May of that year – instructing her to keep the teen inside the hotel room since she was a runaway.” Police say the teen had sex with 6 men in one day.
Haggard Law, which has litigated against hotels/motels in a variety of premises liability and negligent security cases for more than a decade, is focused on bringing more attention to how commercial businesses play a key role in combating the tragedy of trafficking. Those businesses who do not take responsibility and don’t take active roles in combating trafficking should be held responsible.
Michaels says, “the great enabler for all of these crimes are the commercial premises—hotels, strip malls, apartment buildings—that turn a blind eye to these horrific acts happening right under their noses. Every commercial property owner has a legal duty to act when these crimes are happening on their premises. It is time to start holding those who willfully turn a blind eye responsible.”
Hotels and Motels are Top Targets of Operations For Traffickers
Motels and hotels are considered ideal locations for sex traffickers to operate their heartless and vicious operation. Experts say it is because traffickers are capitalizing on the lack of awareness around this issue within the hotel industry. All too often, they continue to exploit their victims unchecked because staff, managers, and executives do not know what to look for.
Lack of awareness is not a true excuse anymore. Hospitality associations, law enforcement, the federal government and more have discussed the issue in the media and offer training on what the signs are of possible human trafficking at a motel or hotel.
In January Marriott Hotels made human trafficking training mandatory for all associates and developed training tailored to the specific roles on its properties. Over 225,000 associates completed the training this in 2017. It’s a training that has continued in 2018. Haggard Law is confident that if the general knowledge and action taken by some in the industry is not enough to motivate all commercial businesses to become active in the fight against sex trafficking, then premises liability or negligent security civil action will become a new motivating factor.