Suit alleges motel owners allowed sex trafficking before woman’s death

1 Houston

Houston News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search

A civil lawsuit filed against the owners of a southwest Houston motel claims they profited from the sexual trafficking of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found in a ditch last year.

Janice Charleze, from Bell County, filed the lawsuit following the September 2016 death of her daughter, Natalie Irene Fisher.

The target of the lawsuit is the Plainfield Inn, 9638 Plainfield, and its owners, identified in court documents as Rajan Patel and Dahyabhai Patel.

The lawsuit alleged they were aware of the illegal activities going on at the motel, yet still rented rooms to pimps and drug traffickers who conducted their illegal operations there.

“Human traffickers use the Plainfield Inn as their base of operations and facility for the sex trade,” the suit alleges. “Defendants tolerate these illegal activities because in doing so, they have acquired a steady stream of income.”

The motel owners did not respond Tuesday to a message left at their business.

According to the lawsuit, Fisher was kept at the Plainfield Inn as part of a sex trafficking operation until Sept. 23, 2016, when her body was discovered along the 400 block of Holmes Road – about 10 miles from the motel. According to the Harris County medical examiners, she died as a result of “sharp force injuries.”

Lawyers representing Charleze said the lawsuit is the first civil action of its kind since anti-human trafficking statutes were passed in Texas that allow for compensation of victims by those who profit from human trafficking.

“Economic bondage tying the victim to the trafficker is just one of the ways perpetrators keep people in servitude,” said Ross Bussard of the Hotze Runkle law firm. “Texas law provides these victims a chance at a life free of sexual slavery.”

Charleze said her daughter tried to leave several times but was so abused, both emotionally and physically, that she couldn’t see any other future for herself.

“We learned too late about this to save my daughter,” Charleze said. “Had I known we could have held these hotel owners accountable for turning a blind eye to Natalie’s suffering, we could have gotten her away from her traffickers.”

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages, court costs and attorney’s fees.

1 Houston

Houston News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search



Leave a Reply