Latest modern slavery fight updates -

Florida Hotels and Motels Hotspots for Trafficking

  • Published on
    November 4, 2017
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Human Trafficking
Hero Banner

Hotels and motels are reportedly the most common sites for sex trafficking in Florida. US News and World Reports that 1 out of 6 cases take place there, the ability to rent rooms for a short period of time and remain relatively anonymous making them attractive to human traffickers.

“Traffickers want to remain transient,” said Blair Pippin, the prevention and creative director for Florida Abolitionist, an anti-human trafficking organization based in Orlando. “They want to be able to move from place to place so that they’re less (visible). . They also want to keep their victims moving from place to place.”

According to the Polaris Project, a nonprofit that tracks calls to the national human trafficking hotline, there were 329 reported cases of human trafficking in Florida through the end of June — including 215 sex-trafficking and 79 labor-trafficking cases. Hotels and motels accounted for 36 of the sex-trafficking reports, ahead of massage and “spa” businesses.”

Pippin added that most cases take place at lower-end hotels where people can pay in cash and where security is likely to be less high. That doesn’t mean, however, that high-end hotels are immune from the problem.

In West Palm Beach, the hotel industry and police have been working together to address human trafficking and how to recognize the signs. Rick Netzel, Best Western’s sales director, noted that “A lot of times the human trafficker, the guys won’t come in. They’ll send the girls in. They pay cash. You can tell they’re hesitant. They’re not sure of themselves. (Also), the lack of luggage. If they just have a small bag and they’re staying multiple nights, that’s a heads-up.”

While the major issue facing hotels and motels may be sex trafficking, Polaris estimates that around 5% of trafficking cases in hotels are related to labor trafficking. However, these cases often receive less media attention because they are harder to identify. “When it comes to sex trafficking, law enforcement can go into a prostitution sting and they find that this person is a victim. . .with labor, trying to figure out if someone is there by force rather than just working the job is really tricky,” said Pippin.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Rounded up and abandoned: Europe’s covert support of migrant atrocities

It is well documented that inhumane immigration policies are forcing migrants to take extremely risky routes on their journey to seek asylum in Europe and globally. However, a year-long investigation by the Washington Post, Lighthouse Reports, and a consortium of international media outlets uncovered that migrant lives are not just at risk due to sketchy channel crossings and being packed in the back of refrigerator trucks. To dissuade sub-Saharan

| Wednesday May 22, 2024

Read more