Baton Rouge motel ordinance fights human trafficking
BATON ROUGE - The metro council passed an ordinance Wednesday night effectively requiring motels and hotels in the parish to be vigilant against human traffickers at their establishments.
"We want to make them safe for our guests to our city as well as the people who live around the hotels," said councilman Matt Watson.
"We are [as a parish] what I would consider, prostitution friendly," said Assistant District Attorney Will Morris. "There are a lot of properties that don't have a lot of guardianship over them. It's a free-for-all."
Soon, hotels and motels in the East Baton Rouge Parish will be required to apply for an operating permit. If an establishment has too many arrests for drugs or prostitution, the permit will be revoked and the business will be shut down.
"Our goal is not to target properties or shut them down, our goal is to work with them," said Morris.
Motels and hotels will not be penalized if they report human trafficking themselves. The ordinance also requires guests to provide an ID.
Morris says human trafficking is a problem across the parish, not just at motels in the "bad parts of town." The ordinance goes into effect in 180 days.