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Education & Statistics
Know the Signs: Sex Trafficking in the Hospitality Industry
Education & Statistics


Human trafficking can take place any time, anywhere in the world. Some common venues where exploitation takes place are hotels and motels. 

Traffickers may bring victims to hotels and motels to engage in commercial sex with paying customers. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, hotels and motels are frequented by traffickers because these locations include:

  • Easy accessibility for them and their customers
  • Ability to pay in cash
  • Lack of upkeep expenses

To help prevent such abuse, hospitality workers and patrons can learn to recognize the signs of human trafficking. Many trusted organizations that are engaged in the fight against trafficking have outlined a variety of signs to look out for. We have compiled a few signs from each of these resources; please click the links to learn more.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline

  • Paying for their room in all cash or by prepaid card
  • Requesting a room with a view of the parking lot
  • Having many visitors in and out of the room
  • Frequently requesting fresh sheets and towels
  • Having drugs, alcohol or sex paraphanelia in their possession

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

  • Reserving multiple rooms under one name
  • Renting rooms for less than a day or longer than seems normal
  • Parking cars backwards so license plates aren’t visible
  • Bringing little to no possessions for an extended stay
  • Bringing multiple computers, cell phones, credit card payment systems, etc.
  • Begging hotel staff for food or other items
  • Loitering on the premises


  • Bringing excessive luggage for a short stay
  • Extending reservations day by day
  • Checking in alone but requesting multiple beds, room keys, etc.
  • Requesting a room away from front desk
  • Checking in with several women
  • Expressing concern about surveillance cameras or entrance policies

If you witness these signs, observe carefully and document concrete details about the situation. Then contact a human trafficking tipline or local law enforcement authorities to report what you’ve seen.

To further educate yourself on the signs of trafficking, we invite you to take our free Signs of Trafficking Training Course.

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