Human Trafficking Survivor Alleges Motel Was Complicit In Repeated Rapes

A trafficking survivor settled out of court after she sued a motel for allegedly turning a blind eye and facilitating repeated rapes while she was held captive. The case may have laid the legal groundwork for other trafficking victims to hold motels accountable for complicity.

August 26, 2021
Shangri-La Motel

Shangri-La Motel in Seekok, Massachusetts [via Shangri-La Motel website]

Shangri-La Motel in Seekok, Massachusetts [via Shangri-La Motel website]

Lisa Ricchio was just trying to help a friend when she traveled from Maine to Massachusetts in 2011.

According to court documents from the civil suit’s 2015 filing, Clark McLean told Ricchio he was in pain after surgery and needed help. When the two checked into the Shangri-La Motel in Seekonk, Mass., McClean reportedly began physically and sexually assaulting Ricchio and took her car, cell phone, and driver’s license. He allegedly kept her from eating, drugged her, and threatened her family. After a number of days, he forced her into prostitution.

The motel was liable, the suit claimed, because Ricchio reached out to the hotel owners for help several times, and they declined to intervene despite seeing McClean physically assaulting her, the suit said. The suit went on to allege that McClean, and one of the hotel owners, openly spoke about how they could make money together. The hotel also benefited financially because McClean was paying for the room where Ricchio was trafficked.

It was the first suit filed against a motel for its role in a human trafficking situation, according to an article from NPR. Ricchio’s case was ultimately settled out of court for an undetermined amount of money.

That same NPR report goes on to say that other human trafficking survivors have now sued other motel chains such as Hilton, Marriott, and Red Roof Inn.

How the Hospitality Industry is Fighting Human Trafficking

The American Hotel and Lodging Association offers a “No Room for Trafficking” program to help hotel and hospitality staff act quickly if they suspect human trafficking in their facilities.

Its five-point plan includes teaching staff members to spot the signs of trafficking and who to call, placing signage around the facility with information about trafficking, establishing company-wide policies on what to do if an employee suspects trafficking, coordinating with law enforcement, and sharing success stories.

How you can help

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, these are the steps you can take to save the life of yourself or someone else:

  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888: Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking.
  • Text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 233733. Message and data rates may apply.
  • Chat with the National Human Trafficking Hotline via www.humantraffickinghotline.org/chat
  • Submit a tip online through the anonymous online reporting form here www.humantraffickinghotline.org/report-trafficking. However, please note that if the situation is urgent or occurred within the last 24 hours, you should call, text, or chat.

Next Up

T.I. And Tiny Face Criminal Investigation Over Sexual Abuse Allegations

The couple adamantly denies they drugged, kidnapped or sexually assaulted the alleged victims.

Florida Man Allegedly Told Underage Battery Victim He Was 'Instagram Famous'

Richard Brown, 25, also reportedly lured the girl from Texas and paid for her $822 Uber ride to Florida.

Judge: Teen Who Showed Sex Tape To Friends Must Register As Sex Offender For 25 Years

Jeremiah Horton, 18, was reportedly also sentenced to six months in a rehab facility for nonviolent felony offenders.

Raymond Dean Holley, Wanted For Alleged Easter Sunday Child Sex Abuse, Captured

He's accused of molesting two little girls in his care on Easter Sunday 2018.

Corey Feldman Defends Michael Jackson, Calls 'Leaving Neverland' Doc 'One-Sided'

Feldman also said the accusers “must be heard,” however, and blasted parents for leaving their kids with Jackson.

School Bus Driver Who Admitted To Raping 14-Year-Old Girl Gets No Jail Time

As part of a plea deal, Shane Piche got 10 years probation and must register as a sex offender.

True Crime News Roundup: Britney Spears’ Father Will No Longer Oversee Her Conservatorship

Plus: A New York jury reaches a verdict in the R. Kelly sex-trafficking trial; 11 fraternity brothers are charged for hazing after a pledge dies; and the Georgia spa shooter pleads not guilty.

'Making A Murderer': Here's Everything We Know About Season One

A new season of Making a Murderer, the Netflix series that told the story of convicted murderer Steven Avery, is starting on October 19.