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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas judge ordered a motel to pay $25.4 million to a victim of sex trafficking.

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According to KLRT, Arkansas Judge Doug Schrantz ruled that the Economy Inn in Springdale’s parent company, OM Hospitality, Inc. must pay the victim $25.4 million.

In court records obtained by KLRT, between the summer of 2014 and July 2017, a victim between the age of 14 and 17 was held by her trafficker at the Economy Inn in Springdale. The records say she was forced to perform sexual acts on men for money.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette said the judge found that the woman was a victim of manipulation, coercion and abuse. She turned 18 in June 2018 and the lawsuit was filed in May 2021.

According to the court order obtained by KLRT, the management at the motel allegedly would notify the victim’s trafficker if law enforcement was looking around and they would move her down the street until things “quieted down.” Cleaning staff was allegedly never allowed in the rooms where the victim and her trafficker were staying.

The victim and her trafficker would spend about a month and a half at a time at the motel, according to court records obtained by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The trafficker would pay for the rooms in case.

The Arkansas court’s judgment of $25.4 million included more than $19 million in punitive damages, which according to KLRT, was to punish the business for not stepping in. The victim’s law team says this verdict is one of the biggest against a single hotel/motel across the country for its involvement in a sex trafficking case and told KLRT that they hope it sends a message to other businesses in similar situations.

The judge believed that the motel failed to inspect rooms rented for a long duration of time, failed to inspect rooms with heavy foot traffic, failed to train staff of trafficking warning signs, failed to notify law enforcement, failed to have proper security measures, failed to monitor guest check-in, and failed to have a safe premise, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The judge also learned that the victim was trafficked between the Economy Inn and the Royal Inn — that both businesses “conspired to conceal” the trafficking.

KLRT said that the Economy Inn did not respond to any of their requests for comment.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, the victim was awarded $3.142 million for potential loss of life expectancy of 13.2 years, $714,000 for the harm she suffered and $2.5 million for pay and suffering.

If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking o have any information about a possibly trafficking-related situation, call the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. If you or someone else is in danger, call 911.