Prince George’s County Council member Karen Toles (D-Suitland), in response to a growing human-trafficking problem in the county, introduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit hotels and motels from renting rooms at hourly rates.
The legislation was a policy recommendation from the county’s human-trafficking task force, established in 2013. It found the hourly room rentals help facilitate criminal activity involving young men and women caught in the sex trade.
“We need to tighten up our county laws so there is no loophole and [businesses] are held accountable,” Toles said. “We don’t want Prince George’s County to be an easy target for human trafficking.”
The bill would add language banning the service to the county code governing lodging establishments. Toles said that if the bill becomes law, she will work with her colleagues to impose civil penalties on businesses that violate the prohibition.
Prince George’s police have carried out sting operations targeting prostitution in cities such as College Park.
“We don’t want to appear anti-business, but we want to protect our citizens and anyone being trafficked,” Toles said.