Human Rights

Human Trafficking Lawsuits

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Being under the control of another person against your will is, unfortunately, what millions of people in the United States and around the world experience. Whether for sex or labor, human trafficking is recognized as one of the U.S.’s largest and fastest growing criminal enterprises. While human trafficking is criminal, trafficking victims may also be able to seek justice by filing civil claims.

Victims of sex trafficking may file individual cases against companies they allege allowed them to be trafficked on company property.

Unknown by many, some licensed businesses and corporations profit from the illegal work of enslaved laborers. They may also turn a blind eye to forced prostitution taking place on their property. Motley Rice believes that corporations have a legal responsibility and must actively protect at-risk laborers and trafficking victims. When corporations enable traffickers to violate human rights for illegal gains, the civil court system can rightly intervene, providing access to justice for victims. We represent victims in litigation seeking to hold negligent businesses accountable.

JPML DECLINES TO ESTABLISH TRAFFICKING MDL AGAINST HOTEL INDUSTRY

Feb. 5, 2020

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation declined to consolidate, or establish an MDL of cases for sex trafficking victims against the hotel industry ruling that the majority of the claims are unique and contain varying details involving different hotel franchises, owners and employees, geographic locations, witnesses, and time periods and therefore wouldn’t benefit from a consolidation. Read more.

Contact a human trafficking attorney

We understand that victims of human trafficking have a lifetime of recovery ahead and need assistance to regain their lives. Discussing your rights with an attorney can help. If you or a loved one has been the victim of human trafficking, you may have a civil claim. Our attorneys have helped people in a wide range of human rights cases.

For more information, you may contact one of our human trafficking lawyers at 1.800.768.4026 or complete this form.

Common industries targeted by human traffickers include:

  • Agriculture
  • Caregivers
  • Child care
  • Construction
  • Domestic work
  • Drug smuggling and distribution
  • Fairs and carnivals
  • Hospitality (restaurants, hotels)
  • Janitorial services
  • Massage parlors
  • Prostitution
  • Restaurants
  • Salon services
  • Spas
  • Traveling sales crews

Human Trafficking Whistleblowers

reported it. Whistleblowers can be critical to helping ensure corporate wrongdoing ceases. Motley Rice attorneys work closely with potential whistleblowers to ensure that their rights are protected and that sensitive information is properly handled. Our whistleblower attorneys have represented numerous individuals in a broad range of whistleblower lawsuits, including SEC and qui tam cases. We understand the fears and challenges associated with blowing the whistle, and are prepared to help. Read more on our whistleblower casework

Hiding in plain sight

While human trafficking can be difficult to detect and is largely underreported, thousands of U.S. citizens and foreign victims, including men, women and children, are thought to be forced into what is essentially modern-day slavery each year in the U.S.

Human trafficking is reported to net roughly $32 billion a year in the U.S. and $150 billion worldwide — funding an underground network that lines the pockets of sex and labor traffickers while enslaving millions of innocent victims.

The Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State are the primary agencies that investigate human trafficking on the federal level. Read the the State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Human trafficking is a global horror and victims in the U.S. are trafficked from virtually all of the world’s regions.

People reported to be the most vulnerable to trafficking in the U.S. include:

  • Children in the child welfare, foster care and juvenile justice systems
  • Runaway and homeless youth
  • Unaccompanied children
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives
  • Migrant laborers, including undocumented workers and participants in visa programs for temporary workers
  • Foreign national domestic workers in diplomatic households
  • People with limited English proficiency or low literacy
  • People with disabilities
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people
  • Participants in 449 URUGUAY court-ordered substance use diversion programs

Our human trafficking lawsuit experience

Motley Rice has a wide range of experience representing laborers and victims of human rights violations, including laborers impacted by human trafficking. For example, Motley Rice assisted with filing a federal civil complaint against several leaders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2005 for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping, human trafficking and child enslavement of young boys who were forced to work as camel jockeys and endure reprehensible conditions, including being starved to make them lighter, abused both physically and sexually, and injured while competing in the dangerous races. While the civil suit was dismissed, the UAE later banned the use of children as camel jockeys and replaced them with lightweight robots controlled by their trainers who ride in vehicles alongside the track. The UAE also began a two-part program with UNICEF to return trafficked and enslaved children to their home countries and compensate them for injuries they suffered.

Motley Rice attorneys are also familiar with the sensitive nature of sexual abuse cases, and represented and secured a confidential settlement for victims of childhood sexual abuse at Pinewood Preparatory School, in Charleston, S.C.  Motley Rice lawyers have recently also represented two other Jane Does in sexual assault cases that resolved through confidential settlements. One case involved alleged abuse at Choate Rosemary Hall.

Motley Rice has worked in conjunction with state Attorneys General and local governments to collaborate on issues that are of great concern to the public interest. We have the resources and experience needed to go up against some of the nation’s largest corporations on behalf of victims.

Community involvement

Motley Rice’s advocacy continues outside of the courtroom. We are proud to support South Carolina-based nonprofits Doors to Freedom and the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, local advocacy groups that provide a safe haven and access to services for victims of sex trafficking.


Motley Rice LLC, a South Carolina Limited Liability Company, is engaged in the New Jersey practice of law through Motley Rice New Jersey LLC. Esther Berezofsky attorney responsible for New Jersey practice.

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