Airbnb Home Share Is A Boom To Prostitution
YOU may or may not know what Airbnb is. It’s a system whereby people can rent out their homes, or an extra bedroom, for a couple of days or a week or whatever. And therefore it’s also a website where you can rent a room in a town for a week or a night or two or whatever. Well, that’s great and it’s booming, currently worth some $10 billion as a company. But obviously, people have found a way to exploit that system as well:
Hookers are using the controversial Airbnb home-sharing Web site to turn prime Manhattan apartments into temporary brothels, The Post has learned.
One escort service is even saving a bundle by renting Airbnb apartments instead of hotel rooms for clients’ quickies, says a 21-year-old call girl who works for the illicit business.
“It’s more discreet and much cheaper than The Waldorf,” said the sex worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Hotels have doormen and cameras. They ask questions. Apartments are usually buzz-in.”
Think it through: in both the UK and the US it’s illegal to run a brothel. And hotels really don’t like getting that reputation for being a place where you can hire rooms by the hour (although they obviously exist of course). So up pops a new service which allows you to rent an apartment for a couple of days or a week or two. This is obviously much cheaper than those hotels. And it’s also a lot safer than having one regular place being kept as a brothel. For the police have to know where that apartment is before they can come raid it and if you’re only there a week then it’s most unlikely they’ll find out.
This is the sort of problem that’s going to be almost impossible to stamp out too. Which could be a problem for Airbnb: for it’s one thing to rent out your apartment for a week to some nice tourists from out of town, quite another to have it turned into a knocking shop for a week.