Trafficked, Part 2

Lithograph of Vincent van Gogh's

Lithograph of Vincent van Gogh’s “Sorrow”, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Photographer/Source pic (PD Art-old-100)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Four unnamed women who allege they were forced into prostitution at a Maryland hotel have brought separate suits against the hotel where events took place [1][2].  The plaintiffs maintain that the staff of America’s Best Value Inn either knew or should have known that human trafficking was occurring on the premises.

Money Damages

This is among the first suits where money damages for human trafficking are being sought by victims from a “deep pocket” third party not directly involved with the trafficking.

The suit alleges the hotel failed to keep its premises safe.

The owner disputes this, saying that staff noticed nothing suspicious.  After the prostitution ring was uncovered, hotel procedure was though changed.  Rooms are now cleaned after three days, whether there is a “Do Not Disturb” sign in place or not.


The women’s story is chilling.  As they describe it, the four were kidnapped; injected with heroin; then forced to engage in sex for money with men brought to the hotel.  All proceeds went to Cornelius Briddell, the head of the trafficking operation.

The women were rescued after one of the victims managed to message her boyfriend on Facebook.  Briddell was convicted in 2015, and sentenced to 145 years in prison.   The judge characterized his actions as barbaric.

Claiming to be a man of God, Briddell actually made a show of “forgiving” his victims.


The Vincent van Gogh work (above) captures the despair of women whose very bodies are not their own.  Little surprise that drug addiction and prostitution often go hand in hand…or that a great many prostitutes were first abused at home.


The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Cor. 6: 13).

Those who argue that prostitution, when legal and well-regulated, is a legitimate way of earning a living miss an essential point.  Sexuality is closely linked to our identity.  We cannot give away pieces of ourselves without paying a heavy price.

“Pretty Woman” notwithstanding, prostitution is neither glamorous nor romantic.   A fifteen year old lying dead on a slab in the morgue is not glamorous.  A fifty year old still turning tricks to support her habit is not romantic.

Even women who choose to prostitute themselves do so, for the most part, out of desperation.  This is not to say that prostitutes are all saintly.  Life on the streets can numb a child involved in prostitution, harden a woman.

The “dates” or johns who frequent prostitutes are rarely prosecuted.  But they, too, pay a price.  Men are deadened to the welfare of those servicing their desires.  Marriages and families may be destroyed.

The four women here were heinously violated.  But whatever the outcome of this litigation, they will be able to say they stood up for themselves and fought back.

[1]  WBOC News, “Salisbury Hotel Sued by Victims of Human Trafficking”, 2/27/17,

[2]  Washington Post (Associated Press), “Human trafficking victims sue Salisbury hotel”, 2/27/17,



Filed under Christianity, Justice, Law, Prostitution, Religion, Slavery, Violence Against Women

8 responses to “Trafficked, Part 2

  1. mia_haider

    shocked by this news. may someone come to help them.

  2. Thank you for bringing these realities to light, Anna.

  3. I appreciate your reporting and drawing attention to this. It is something for which we are all responsible and for which victims are blamed and not forgiven on the job market. It’s hard to go from being a sex worker to getting sustainable employment. It’s a real world people need to understand better.

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