Entrepreneurial Prostitutes Use Airbnb As Temporary Brothels, Hosts Shouldn’t Act Surprised


Airbnb is the best!

Airbnb is an excellent way to find a convenient and inexpensive place to stay on vacation, and it offers apartment dwellers an easy way to sublet their apartment and make some money while away on vacations of their own. Plenty of people have put the service to good use, including, apparently, large numbers of New York sex workers.

According to the New York Post, individual sex workers and even high-end escort services are taking mini-sublets on nice places instead of booking pricey hotel rooms. It makes perfect sense from their perspectives. As one 21-year-old sex worker explained:

“It’s more discreet and much cheaper than The Waldorf. Hotels have doormen and cameras. They ask questions. Apartments are usually buzz-in.”

That makes perfect sense on the face of it. And when a person rents an Airbnb apartment, they should logically expect to be able to have sex in it if they so desire. Whether that sex is with a long-term partner, a one-night stand, or a paying customer seems completely irrelevant. If a guest stays for a week and wants to bring home a different person every night, that does seem like it would be their prerogative.

Of course there are not-OK situations, like the guy whose apartment was trashed after an Airbnb renter used it for a giant orgy. Individual hosts don’t sign on for property damage any more than hotels do. But if it’s just sex and the apartment isn’t damaged, it’s unclear why any host would care. Sure, hosts might not want random strangers knowing where their house is, but if keeping one’s home address private is a concern, it seems like a person wouldn’t put their house up on the Internet for strangers to borrow in the first place.

The issue does get murkier when unwitting hosts wind up involved in legal issues, like one woman who got a call from the police when her Airbnb guest was attacked by a client in her apartment. But that kind of incident could happen with any Airbnb guest, whether the attacker was a paying client, one-night stand, or long-term partner.

Basically, if you are looking to rent your place on Airbnb, you should be aware that your guests will almost certainly use your place for sex. That sex might be paid for. If you’re cool with that, go ahead and rent away. And if you are looking to rent a place on Airbnb–whether for paid sex or just sleeping–please tidy up afterwards. It’s only polite.

(Photo: Touchstone Pictures)

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    • Kaitlin Reilly

      Yeah, not really surprised by this at all.

    • Samantha Escobar

      I think there are plenty of benefits to doing a sublet! Really! Even a short term sublet. But holy shit, this scares the bejeezus out of me.

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        Yeah, this is super irresponsible on the part of the sex workers, see my comment above for just a few reasons why. As enterprising as the idea is, I’m not a fan.

      • Samantha Escobar

        It is such an enterprising idea! I think one of my biggest issues with it is that I think if you are doing a short-term sublet, it’s best to just not really have people over (sex work-wise or otherwise)–especially not people you don’t know very well. That sounds a little over-the-top, most likely, but if I were renting out my space for the night, I would just kind of assume it was not for the purposes of that subletter having company over whatsoever, particularly company whom they do not know or have the personal information of in the event that that person opts to commit a crime. I’m also paranoid, in general, so…

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        Oh, yeah I’m definitely with you there. I mean, clients are less likely to wreck things than some rando from the bar, and if the ladies are screening properly they’ll have the clients’ personal information, but who knows if they’re screening?
        I’m with you on the being paranoid thing. I’d be concerned to do AirBnB at all, even for pleasure, just because I’m really weird about being in people’s homes for the first time and wouldn’t want to wreck anything.

    • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

      Okay, I’m (obviously) a prostitute, and obviously I think all sex workers deserve safe places to work out of. Unfortunately, due to the tragic criminalization of my profession and the other various laws surrounding it, I think this is a really terrible thing to do to someone. Hopefully the sex workers using AirBnB apartments for work are screening properly, but unfortunately even the best screening can fail, and that could put the owner/primary tenant of the apartment in a huge heap of legal trouble.
      The legal definition of pimping is profiting off the income of a sex worker, and brothel keeping is usually defined by renting a space that’s used for the purposes of prostitution, though it varies by area. These are both VERY serious, usually felonious, offenses, far more serious that a prostitution charge in most cases, and it’s absolutely unfair to innocent subletters to put them in proximity to that kind of legal hot water.
      It makes me really sad that this is the case, but until something changes, the sex workers using AirBnB to see clients are being very irresponsible and endangering others.

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        Also, just read the New York Post article, and boo to them for the super whorephobic language. I wish I was surprised.