Salisbury Hotel Sued by Victims of Human Trafficking - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Hotel Sued by Victims of Human Trafficking

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SALISBURY, Md. (AP/WBOC) - Four women who say they were forced into prostitution are suing the owners of a Salisbury hotel, arguing that staff either knew or should have known that the hotel was a site for human trafficking.
    
Attorneys for the victims told WBOC they filed separate lawsuits Friday in Wicomico County Circuit Court against the owners of the America's Best Value Inn in Salisbury.
    
The hotel was the site of a 2014 human-trafficking bust in which the ringleader, Cornelius Briddell, was given a 145-year prison sentence.
    
"The lawsuit alleges in its simplest form that the hotel had a duty to protect these women and that they breached that duty. They acted negligently toward them and as a result the women were severely injured," said attorney Michael Belsky from Schlachman, Belsky & Weiner. 

America's Best Value Inn Owner Kala Patel said Monday, "If we knew, oh my god. I would never ever ever close my eyes like that." 

She stressed that her and her staff never noticed anything suspicious. 

Belsky said, "Either they knew or should've known about the danger and that they neglected to do anything about it." 
    
Red Lion Hotels Corp., which acquired the America's Best Value Inn last year, says the company works to educate independent owners about recognizing the signs of trafficking and reporting it.

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