A human trafficking survivor is suing budget hotel chain Red Roof Inn for allowing trafficking to happen at their properties. Then, a new report has found that eating a single freshwater fish is the same as drinking dangerous PFAS chemicals for an entire month. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: A human trafficking survivor is suing budget hotel chain, Red Roof Inn, for allowing trafficking to happen at their properties. Yeah. Well, we brought the lawsuit. So I, I know a lot about it. Why don’t, but, you know, you’ve worked with me on so many big projects. Farron, talk, talk about this case a little bit.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. What, what’s happening here is that you have a survivor, who basically was trafficked at a Red Roof Inn.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: She was subjected to abuse, manipulation, psychological and physical torture, basically. And they were operating very clearly, very obviously out of the Red Roof Inn. And so what this survivor is saying, listen, you had all of the warning signs, you have all of these resources that the government has provided for you. You could have stepped in and saved me and countless other women. You made the decision to not do it because you were making money off the people coming to the hotel, not just as traffickers, but as the clients.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: You know, using these women.

Mike Papantonio: It’s, it’s actually worse than that. We have cases where an organization will call a trafficker, maybe it’s MindGeek up in Canada, one of the big centralizations of, of pornography. They’ll call the trafficker and they say, we want to see a film of 14 and 15 year old girls being sodomized. Okay. So they go rent the room, the trafficker rents the room, they rent a suite for a week. They then bring in cameras, they bring in lights, they bring in the movie set, everybody working the front desk, everybody working in the ho, in the hotel. Now, this is not Red Roof Inn, this is some, this is another organization that we’re going after. But everybody in the hotel knows exactly what’s going on. These kids are walking around, 14 year old kids that are being sodomized up in the hotel room. They, they, they take breaks. So they walk around in Negligees all around the, this is the kind of stuff that you can’t just ignore and say, well, there, we don’t have any standards. We don’t have to worry about standards. Red Roof Inn has their own standards. They have a standard, they have a, a standard book that we must follow. The problem is they don’t follow it.

Farron Cousins: Right. And not to mention, even if they somehow don’t miss all the camera equipment coming into the hotel. I mean, look, I’ve traveled with camera equipment and the lights, those are big giant containers you have to wheel through, move around people.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And I’ll say, nobody’s ever looked at us twice.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: I mean, not that we’re doing anything bad, but they don’t care.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: They just pretend it doesn’t exist. But they also had complaints on their own message boards of people who had just stayed in the hotel telling them, listen, um, you have lots of pimps hanging outside this hotel. I’m here with my family on vacation and we can’t walk through the lobby without all of the pimps offering us. Do you want a woman for tonight?

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: That’s on their own message board. The people making complaints about staying in the hotel. So they had all of the evidence.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Knowing that this was happening.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. It’s always knowledge. It’s like the trucking case where they load up kids in California, in an 18 wheeler, they have little separate bedrooms in the, in the 18 wheeler. They go across the country calling truck stops all along the way, we’ll be there in a half an hour. People come in, have sex with these children and leave. The truck stop, they’re making money on the fuel. They’re making money on the food. They’re making money on the business that comes in from that. So they look the other way. This is a similar kind of case in a lot of ways.

Mike Papantonio: A new report’s found that eating a single freshwater fish is the same as drinking dangerous PFAS chemicals. Okay. First of all, most people don’t know what PFAS is. You, do you agree with that?

Farron Cousins: Oh, absolutely.

Mike Papantonio: It’s been knocking around out there. We tried the first case, the first time PFAS ever got into the public domain were the trials that I had up in West Virginia. They made two movies out of it. One was called The Devil We Know, it’s on Netflix. The other one was about the lawyer who brought the case to me, brilliant lawyer, named Rob, Rob Bilott. It’s called Dark Waters. Begin by watching those movies to understand how bad this is. Okay. PFAS is so dangerous that, if you take one drop, one drop, put it in an Olympic size pool, it’s going to have the propensity to cause the physical problems that the, that we’re talking about. Which are what?

Farron Cousins: We’re talking about neurological problems, cancers of every imaginable kind for the individuals, birth defects. And, and the big problem here too, and you’ve discussed this plenty of times, is that it’s bioaccumulative.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: Which means once it gets in you, it’s in you. So every PFAS chemical you drink after that is just compiling and building up inside your system.

Mike Papantonio: And explain why it’s in fish. Explain why it’s in our drinking water. Talk about that.

Farron Cousins: Exactly. It’s, it’s the waste from these massive corporations that have been dumping it for decades. Our, our EPA right now still doesn’t know exactly if we’re gonna stop this because it’s still happening. They’re still debating on what the proper limits are, but there’s no limit.

Mike Papantonio: 50 years. 50 years the EPA has known that PFAS, the first cases we tried was C8. It was a type of PFAS. So, so we found the documents, the EPA understood that all of the rat studies were a disaster. All of the beagle studies, they all died. All the monkey studies, they all died. And it was caused by this stuff that is in our drinking water right now. The second phase of this case that we’re handling right now is all these drinking water facilities. The, the delivery facilities. They have so much PFAS in their water it would take a hundred to $200 million per facility to get it out of the water.

Farron Cousins: And so now what we’re looking at, this new study from the Environmental Working Group says, one freshwater fish, just one, if you were to eat that right now for lunch, that’s the equivalent of drinking nothing but PFAS basically for an entire month, one fish. And these freshwater fish they’re talking about, these supply foods to, to communities. They’re a huge source of food for low income Americans who always bear the brunt of all of these environmental toxins.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: Native populations. All of these groups heavily dependent on these fish. And we’re finding out now we’re poisoning you even faster than the rest of us are being poisoned. Because everybody’s getting it, but they’re getting it worse.

Mike Papantonio: You wanna know how it happened? You know what came out in the trial? Okay. It’s 3M and DuPont were the big, big folks in this. They did all this testing. They saw that all the tests were a disaster causing kidney cancer, causing testicular cancer, causing neurological problems, causing birth defects. All of this information they had. Now for a little while, they hid it from the EPA. But then at some point they handed it over to the EPA. EPA did nothing. They, they, there was nothing that was done by the EPA. All right. Working Groups, Environmental Working Groups gave it to the media. Don’t you think, this was like, this was 40 years ago. Don’t you think this is an important story New York Times? Don’t you think this is important Washington Post?

Farron Cousins: It should be.

Mike Papantonio: No, it wasn’t because obviously advertising money was moving into those entities. Television wouldn’t do it. 3M, check your TVs, 3M advertisers like crazy people. So even the, even the so-called investigative corporate types weren’t doing anything on this project. Then regulators, we found out that the regulators that were supposed to be in charge of all this were moving from, from being regulators to going to work for 3M in million dollar jobs or DuPont, going to work, going from regulation to DuPont. It was this revolving door and it went the other way. People who worked for the industry was put, they were putting people in, in administrative positions with the EPA to slow it all down. And, and, and Farron, I swear God, if you say, isn’t that PFA, PFAS a problem to 10 people, if you get one of them to even understand it’s in their body. It’s in their drinking water. They don’t get it.

Farron Cousins: No. It, it’s, what is it at least 98% of all life on Earth at this point?

Mike Papantonio: Yes.

Farron Cousins: Has PFAS chemicals in it.

Mike Papantonio: Polar bears have it. It’s so bad that they had to find blood that they could do epidemiology studies with. They, they couldn’t find it with contemporaries. They had to go to the soldiers that were in Korea to look at their blood samples to even be able to compare because they didn’t have it in their blood because it hadn’t started then.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.