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Oil patch hotels combating prostitution

In an effort to combat the influx of human trafficking and prostitution in North Dakota’s oil patch, some hotel managers are taking the matter into their own hands by refusing service and making “Do Not Rent” lists.

Garnet Finchum and her husband Dwight, managers of the Travel Inn located in Dickinson, say that both prostitutes and solicitors are frequent visitors, according to a report by the Forum News Service (FNS). As a result, Finchum as well as other managers in Western North Dakota are reluctant to rent rooms to a single woman.

However, that rule may be ignored if the managers know the woman or her employer, or if the woman doesn’t fit the profile of a prostitute. One of the signs that may indicate a woman might be involved in prostitution is wanting to pay in cash. Other times, a hotel employee might browse sites like Backpage.com to try to match a face to the prospective renter.

The Travel Inn currently has list of about 60 people that are banned, a quarter of which have been tied to prostitution activity. On a similar list at The Vegas Motel in Williston, about half of the roughly 400 names are women banned for prostitution activities. As reported by FNS, due to this increased criminal activity, The Vegas Motel now requires every person coming to a room register with the front desk.

The Vegas accepts cash as payment along with a $100 deposit. Other hotels though, such as HomStay Suites in Williston, have adopted policies that require renters to pay with a bank card, a practice which has resulted in a dramatic reduction of prostitution activity. Similar policies include placing women from areas such as Las Vegas, Nevada, and Detroit, Michigan, on the first floor so employees can monitor the traffic coming to and from the rooms.

To read the original FNS report, click here.

In related news, Program aims to address domestic violence in ND oil patch.