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The First Civil Action of its kind through the Texas 2009 Human Trafficking Statute

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The mother of an alleged sex trafficking victim seeks $1 million in compensation in a Texas civil lawsuit—the first civil action of its kind through the Texas human trafficking statute.

Senator Leticia Van de Putte, Representative Senfronia Thompson, and Representative Rafael Anchia drafted House Bill 533, to end human trafficking in Texas in 2009. The bill was unanimously passed by the 81st Legislature.

If a business or individual contributed to a sex trafficking crime, but was not prosecuted, the bill allows sex trafficking victims and family members of victims to have the opportunity to bring a cause of action against those involved.

Most recently, the $1 million suit was filed in Harris County by Janiece Charlez. She alleges that her daughter, Natalie Fisher, stayed at the Houston hotel, Plainfield Inn, where she was forced to have sex with men.

The hotel is owned by Rajan Patel and Dahyabhai Patel, two brothers, who are believed to have been aware of the crimes occurring on their property.

The Plainfield Inn is currently speculated to be the base of operations for the sex trade. An investigation is being done to reveal if the Patel brothers willingly rented their hotel rooms to known drug dealers and pimps in order to perform illegal activities.

Charlez explained that her daughter became involved in sex work from a young age. Fisher moved to Dallas at the age of 18, when  she was kicked out of her family home. Fisher quickly found herself trapped in a sex ring, says her mother.

Occasionally, Fisher would return home to her mother, but the combination of bad familial relations and fear that her pimp would find and kill her, prevented Fisher from permanently staying away from the sex ring.

The two women remained in contact, though minimally. Then one day Charlez received an urgent message from Fisher claiming that she was in danger and needed help. Charlez suggested that Fisher and her daughters come stay with her. Fisher agreed, but never arrived at their predetermined meeting place. A week later Fisher was found dead.

Charlez hopes to use House Bill 533 in order to hold the Patel brothers, and all who were involved in the sex trafficking of her daughter, responsible. No lawyers have yet been named for the Patel brothers.

To learn more about this topic please read “Sex trafficking suit filed involves local girl who died.”

 

References:

Mckeon, E. (2017, April 8). Sex trafficking suit filed involves local girl who died. Retrieved April 09, 2017, from http://www.tdtnews.com/news/article_4facb0b0-1cac-11e7-a80e-83b69b724bbd.html

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