When Airbnb and Booking serve as places of prostitution

Prostitution, today, is less and less in the street, it is especially on the Internet that it happens. Health crisis forces: pimps have started renting apartments on short-term rental sites, leaving more and more owners helpless.


Madame Guillien, owner of a studio in Aix-les-Bains, cannot get over it. In her apartment, which she rents on Booking and Airbnb, around 30 euros a night, prostitutes worked for several months, during the first confinement. She hadn’t realized anything, the key exchange with two young women went well. Then the neighbors very quickly sound the alarm. So to find out, she types the cell phone number of one of the occupants on the Internet.

And there surprise, she comes across a prostitution site “sexemodele.com”. She even received the rates by text message. The tenant was probably thinking of answering a client: “100 euros for 30 minutes, 150 for 45 minutes”. “It confirmed what I thought. I had to deal with prostitutes in my apartment. It’s an image that I don’t want to convey, I don’t want this kind of clientele

“We could hear frolics, cries, and incessant passages, it was traumatic”

The residents say they have lived through an ordeal: “We could hear frolics, cries, and incessant passages, at night it was annoying, there were big cars coming, with men quite disturbing. It was so traumatic, I thought I moved”, Deplores a neighbor.

Across France, landlords complain of having accommodated prostitutes in spite of themselves. Pimps organize what they call tours all over the country. Prostitutes change cities constantly. In Melun for example, Philippe Martin, municipal councilor Les Républicains (LR), knows the subject well, since it is in his street that these networks operate.

If you go to a prostitution site, you have 150 results from prostitutes who are supposed to prostitute themselves in Melun. You just need to pretend to be a client and we offer you an appointment”. The elected official alerted the town hall of this situation which said to follow the file. “We are no longer on old-fashioned prostitution with women walking 400 steps in the street. The networks prefer to place their wives in Airbnb and Booking type apartments, or a rental lease for the year. Everything is done so that it is elusive by the authorities”, Explains the elected official.

“You can make between 500 and 1000 euros a day”

Pimps bait young women on social media. For example, on Instagram, accounts offer prostitution by highlighting the provision of an apartment.

We contacted one of those accounts to find out more. “You will be in an Airbnb apartment, there is a security that will be with you, you can make between 500 € and 1,000 € a day (…) There will be other girls”, Explains the person in charge of the account.

We showed these exchanges to the service of the judicial police which fights against procuring: “They work in squalid conditions, often with several people. We end up with a prostitution that we call housed, that is to say in an apartment. Which makes our investigations much more complex and therefore it is no longer possible for investigators to carry out raids as before”, Regrets Elvire Arrighi, head of the Central Office for the Suppression of Trafficking in Human Beings (OCRTEH).

Contacted, Airbnb claims that 0.086% of reports are related to security issues which include prostitution. As for Booking, the site believes it is fighting against prostitution by working with the authorities.


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