James Bates was one of the traders of people who operated out of Barnum’s City Hotel located on Fayette Street between Calvert & St. Paul Streets. It was common to see advertisements for the sale of people in which interested buyers could meet the seller at a specific hotel or tavern. Barnum's was a common meeting place. Also, Lewis F. Scott, one of the most prolific dealers in human flesh, operated his General Slave Agency* from the basement level of the hotel for a period in the 1840s.
* See also entry on General Intelligence Office.