CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A local motel where investigators say young girls were brought and forced to work as part of a sex trafficking ring has been stripped of its franchise.
The owner of the motel is accused of profiting from teen prostitution. According to the Department of Justice, Charlotte ranks in the top 10 nationally for sex trafficking.
Hannah Arrowood, the Executive Director of Present Age Ministries, a group that rescues teens from human traffickers, said most people would be surprised to know how big the problem is in Charlotte.
“What we’ve learned is Charlotte becomes a central hub for various factors, but one of the main ones being all of the interstate highways are so accessible,” said Arrowood.
Red Roof Inn has terminated its franchise agreement with the west Charlotte motel, located at 3300 Queen City Drive.
The owner, Chandresh Patel, through his attorneys released a statement, saying “they were recently advised of criminal activity which took place at the hotel in the past,” and they are in “regular communications with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and are taking action to resolve the issues.”
Charlotte hotel at center of sex trafficking allegations
Patel and his attorneys also pointed out that they have new management in place and new procedures in place to eliminate the conditions that may have allowed criminal activity in the past.
The federal investigation took several months before authorities made a move. Last week, the FBI and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police filed the paperwork asking to seize the property from its owner due to sex trafficking violations that happened on the premises.
Sources told WCNC that pimps would transport young girls from out of state and force them to work. Arrowood’s organization works with girls as young as 12 years old.
“I think they would be shocked to find it in their local high schools. I think they would be shocked to find it in their local churches. I think they would be shocked to find it at the malls they shop at,” said Arrowood.
Sources told WCNC that this is the first time in North Carolina that authorities have attempted to seize a property due to human trafficking.