The owners of a Red Roof Inn in Norcross are being sued in Gwinnett County Superior Court for allegedly keeping a house of prostitution, violating Georgia’s racketeering statues and allowing sex trafficking to occur at the hotel.
The lawsuit has been filed against Red Roof Inns Inc., Red Roof Franchising LLC, Khamlai Lodging LLC and Khamlai Management LLC on behalf of two women, ages 21 and 20, who assert they were trafficked for sex at the hotel, located at 5171 Brook Hollow Parkway, over a period of several days when they were teenagers in 2016.
It is one of three lawsuits filed against Red Roof Inn hotels across metro Atlanta alleging the hotels allowed prostitution and trafficking to occur on their premises. The lawsuits, which accuse the hotels of turning a blind eye to what was going on, were filed by attorneys representing at least 14 victims of sex trafficking.
“The sheer number of children and young survivors who have similar tragic stories regarding the Red Roof hotel chain is staggering,” attorney Pat McDonough said in a statement. “Each of the survivors in these cases hopes that by stepping forward she can usher in change that will help other victims.
“It is clear that unless survivors speak out, hotels like the Red Roof Inns in these lawsuits will only continue to allow others to be similarly victimized.”
The lawsuit cites several TripAdvisor reviews that reported prostitution happened at the hotel, as well several criminal incidents that occurred at the location, as reasons why the hotel’s owners, and Red Roof Inns Inc., should have been aware of what was happening at the hotel.
The racketeering and operating a house of prostitutions claims stems from the fact that, according to attorneys for the women, each defendant had and excised control over the hotel.
“Defendants each exerted control over the Norcross Red Roof Inn and knowingly permitted it to be used for the purpose of prostitution,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiffs were injured by Defendants’ keeping a place of prostitution because they were not prostitutes, but minor victims of sex trafficking, i.e. aggrieved persons. As such, Defendants are liable to Plaintiffs for their damages under the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, O.C.G.A. § 16-14-1.”
The prior criminal incidents at the hotel that attorneys for the women listed in the hotel span a period of 2011 to 2014, with people staying at the hotel being charged with rape, prostitution, pimping, keeping a house of prostitution, attempted rape, aggravated child molestation and cocaine possession. The lawsuit also references a shooting that occurred at the hotel in the summer of 2013, where one person died and another person was left in critical condition.
Another clue that attorneys for the women said should have been a clue for the hotel’s operators was the fact that an “extraordinary number” of used condoms were left in the trash cans in the hotel room where the women were trafficked.
The lawsuit also states that eight to 10 men were visiting the room each day and that when one woman was being trafficked, the other hid in a bathroom or sometimes wandered around the hotel property.
Another assertion made by attorneys in the lawsuit is that the hotel’s owners had a vending machine in the hotel’s lobby that was “stocked with condoms and drug paraphernalia.”
This is not the first time the hotel has been called out for criminal activity taking place on its premises.
In 2019, Gwinnett Solicitor General Brian Whiteside sent letters to Red Roof Inn, as well as other hotels in Gwinnett where crimes have frequently occurred, insisting they take steps to clean up their hotels and address criminal activities taking place on their premises.
The other hotel locations listed in the sex trafficking and prostitution lawsuits filed recently against Red Roof Inn include:
♦ Smyrna Red Roof Inn, located at 2200 Corporate Plaza in Smyrna
♦ Buckhead Red Roof PLUS+, located at 1960 N. Druid Hills Road in Atlanta
♦ Fulton Industrial Red Roof Inn, located at 4430 Frederick Drive in Atlanta
♦ Atlanta Airport South Red Roof Plus+, located at 2450 Old National Parkway in College Park
♦ A Red Roof Inn that was located at 1200 Virginia Avenue in Atlanta, but has closed.
“It is not a coincidence that the same horrific allegations continue to be made about the same hotels, within the same brand, again and again,” attorney Jonathan Tonge, who is representing the victims in the Norcross case alongside McDonough, said in a statement.
Red Roof Inn officials said they do not comment on pending litigation.