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21 human trafficking lawsuits allege hotels ignored problem

There are 21 lawsuits against hotel chains pending in 11 states.
Credit: AP
In this Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 photo, Traffic passes the federal courthouse in Columbus, Ohio. Lawyers representing human trafficking victims want a series of lawsuits alleging hotels across the country ignored signs of trafficking on their premises consolidated into a single federal case in the Columbus courthouse. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Multiple human trafficking victims are alleging major hotel chains have ignored the problem on their premises for years.

Lawyers for the victims say hotel chains turned a blind eye to obvious signs of trafficking, from multiple men visiting a single room to repeat cash-only payments.

The lawyers asked a federal panel earlier this month to assign a single federal judge to oversee at least 21 lawsuits against hotel chains currently pending in 11 states.

The complaints say the hotels have failed to identify, investigate and report suspected human trafficking and have thereby profited from the crime. 

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