The Levin Papantonio law firm is part of a team of law firms heading up litigation to hold hotels and other businesses accountable for their role in facilitating human trafficking.
Although their first request to centralize the litigation was denied by the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL), advocates for survivors continue to push ahead in various jurisdictions across the country fighting for the rights of women and children trafficked on hotel properties and by hotel brands allowing the abuse to continue for years.
There is good progress being made in regards to holding businesses accountable that profit from human trafficking. In December 2019, the first plaintiff to file against a hotel or motel for its role in a trafficking case settled with the Massachusetts motel where she was held captive. The survivor in this case told media the case was more about accountability because employees at the motel saw her in distress and did not help her.
Twenty-one sex trafficking survivors who filed lawsuits against various hotels where they were victimized will not have their cases consolidated before a single court, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled last week.
Despite the fact that all of the cases share the same cause of action – namely, that the hotels failed to train their staff members on how to recognize and report suspected sex trafficking activity – the JPML ruled that the cases were too diverse to be consolidated.
If there is any silver lining to recent revelations involving billionaire Jeffery Epstein alleged recidivism (he entered a “not guilty” plea to recent charges this past week), it is that it has brought greater public attention to the ongoing tragedy of sex trafficking and slavery of minors.
Billionaire financier Jeffery Epstein, already a registered sex offender, was arrested by New York law enforcement over the weekend for allegedly engaging in sex trafficking of underage girls. The reporter who originally broke the story has been following Epstein's illicit activities over the past several years. She says a significant number of “powerful and important” people are going to be named as having been involved before it's over.
A professor of psychiatry who has worked with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) since 2014 recently testified that she and her colleagues have identified more than 7,800 former scout leaders and volunteers whom they say “were involved in sexually abusing a child” over the past 75 years. The information comes from the BSA's “Ineligible Volunteer Files,” which some now call the “Perversion Files.” Dr. Janet Warren, who teaches at the University of Virginia, also says, “From reviewing all these files, we identified 12,254 victims.”
His Holiness Pope Francis has drawn some criticism in recent months for his failure to speak out more forcefully on the issue of child sexual abuse by clergy or take meaningful action. This week, however, he did publicly announce that the Chuch is “working on” the sexual abuse and exploitation of nuns by male clergy.
This week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan reported that more than 500 cases of child sexual abuse were swept under the rug by the six Roman Catholic dioceses across the state. Earlier, the Church reported 185 members of the clergy who had “credible allegations” leveled against them. However, according to AG Madigan's report, the real number is 690.
With all eyes on Pennsylvania and the shocking grand jury report that was released earlier this fall, it is easy to forget that cases of pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church is a worldwide scandal.