Cobb County

More than a dozen victims trafficked at metro Atlanta hotels, lawsuit alleges

SMYRNA, Ga. — More than a dozen people have come forward as victims of sex trafficking at metro Atlanta hotels.

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Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell was in Smyrna Wednesday, where a lawsuit alleges that sex trafficking took place at a Red Roof Inn off Windy Hill Road in Smyrna as well as three other metro Atlanta hotels.

Eleven victims initially came forward, but now there are a total of 15 survivors. Some of the victims were as young as 16 years old.


According to the lawsuit, filed on behalf of nearly 20 women by attorney Patrick McDonough, a front desk employee at the Red Roof Inn said there was never a minute that prostitution wasn’t going on at the motel from 2008 to 2016.

“Their own employees would testify that there would be 10, 15 different girls that were being trafficked everyday,” McDonough said. “Multiple of the clients were at the Smyrna Red Roof hotel, and it’s all the same pattern. Horrific things happened. We have 16 year old children that were literally choked in front of hotel employees”

“We think it’s abundantly clear on all of the public record that the hotel not only should have known about it and (not) turned a blind eye, but had actual knowledge that sex trafficking was going on at this hotel,” McDonough said.

Lawyers initially filed four individual lawsuits in 2019, but since that time, another 11 survivors have come forward.

McDonough said the survivors came forward to try to “change the behavior at the hotels so this doesn’t happen to any other young girls in the future.”

Hotel lawyers have now filed a motion for summary judgement, arguing that the lawsuits shouldn’t be allowed to go forward.

Newell stopped by the Red Roof Inn on Wednesday and was told the manager was not around.

A representative for the Red Roof Inn sent a statement, saying,

“The company will fight these allegations vigorously. We condemn sex trafficking in all forms.”

Michele Newell

Michele Newell, WSB-TV

Michele Newell has been part of the WSB-TV family since November 2021. Before moving to Atlanta, Michele worked at TV news stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio and Steubenville, Ohio.

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