The women wandered the Naples hotel hallways at night, strung out on heroin and wearing next to nothing.

They hung out in the lobbies disheveled and with gaping wounds up and down their arms where they were injected with drugs. They smoked outside and ate breakfast with older men who controlled them.

Day and night, random men cycled in and out of the women’s hotel rooms, where “do not disturb” signs hung on the doors for days on end.

The rooms reeked. When housekeeping did enter, there was drug and sex paraphernalia, and sometimes blood.

These telltale signs of sex trafficking occurred at 22 Collier County hotels and motels, according to Naples lawyers Yale Freeman and Sharon Hanlon, who are suing the businesses. They say hotel management did nothing to stop blatant sex trafficking in 2015 and early 2016.

Hotel and motel owners said they weren’t aware of any sex trafficking at their businesses. Some denied it ever occurred.

We didn’t see any suspicious activity. If we do see it, we always call,” said Yogeshkumar Patel, owner of the Glades Motel on U.S. 41 East. “We’re always here. We watch everybody. We don’t allow in-and-out people. We don’t allow unregistered people to stay.”

In tony Naples, a tropical playground for the wealthy and powerful, there is a seedy undercurrent of sex trafficking and heroin addiction, Freeman said.

“What surprised me about this case was how big it was and how open it was in a community like ours,” Freeman said. “These hotels permitted open sex trafficking to occur at each of their locations.”

The lawsuit, which stems from a criminal case in Collier County that sent two sex traffickers to prison in 2019, accuses the hotels and motels of turning a blind eye to sex trafficking, while profiting from the room occupancies of the victims and traffickers.

Source: Story Courtesy of Naples Daily News. To read full story click here: