Three King County Motel 6 locations facing federal sex trafficking lawsuit

SEATAC, Wash. — Three Motel 6 locations in King County are facing a federal lawsuit for allegedly allowing sex trafficking on premises.

A Bothell woman is suing the major chain for allegedly facilitating, profiting, and concealing sex crimes from 2015 to 2023.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma and has implicated the motel chain, its parent company, and companies that had knowledge of the sex trafficking on motel premises.

“All the signs were there, all the red flags were there, and they did nothing to stop it,” said Katie Llamas, who is an attorney in the case.

The three Motel 6 locations named in the lawsuit are located in SeaTac at 20651 Military Road South, 16500 Pacific Highway South and 18900 47th Avenue South.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff referred to as ‘M.K.’ alleged “traffickers rented rooms to imprison and traffic her and others at the subject Motel 6 locations so often that employees were friendly, accommodating and on a first name basis with her trafficker.”

“These hotels and hotel motels know what’s going on. They know that they’re being trafficked, they know this isn’t consensual prostitution. And they’re allowing it to go on,” said Llamas.

The lawsuit also names controversial website ‘Backpage’ and software company ‘Salesforce’ for allegedly facilitating sex trafficking on several occasions.

“Backpage was the social media site that facilitated a lot of the advertisements that our client’s trafficker put out there,” Llamas explained.

It’s a disturbing trend that Audrey Baedke, co-owner of REST (Race to End the Sex Trade), has seen time and time again. She says survivors are often overlooked.

“Survivors speak a lot about being unseen, unnoticed, unloved, uncared for, especially when there are violent interactions,” Baedke said.

In this case involving Motel 6, and many other similar situations, Baedke says if you see something, say something.

“You don’t ever want to assume that someone is being trafficked, you don’t ever want to assume that someone wants help. But to turn a blind eye and to not offer is doing a disservice,” she said.

G6 hospitality, the parent company of Motel 6, responded to KIRO 7 in statement:

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety and well-being of our guests, our team members, and the communities in which we operate. We condemn all forms of human trafficking and have a zero-tolerance policy against it. Trafficking of people violates basic human rights and is a global societal problem.”