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NEW YORK (CBS SF) — Prostitutes and escort services are using the San Francisco-based Airbnb home-sharing service to turn prime Manhattan apartments into temporary brothels, according to a report.
The New York Post reported sex workers find Airbnb a cheaper and more discreet alternative to using hotels and escort services can escape attention by having prostitutes rent apartments through their own Airbnb profiles, while using prepaid debit cards to pay the rent.
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The apartments usually cost $200 – $400 a day, according to the Post. “[The escort service] probably save $200 to $300 a night by not getting a hotel,” one sex worker told the Post. “It’s really good for business.”
The worker said her escort service rents Airbnb apartments in Midtown or the Financial District by the week and cycles a numbers of workers through the apartment.
Jessica Penzari, a 29-year-old publicist who rented out her apartment to Airbnb last month told the Post her renter told her she was in the Army and needed a place to stay for a few days before being deployed.
After a prostitute was slashed by a client, police contacted Penzari and she said she returned to her apartment to find items such as baby wipes and “at least 10 condoms” she told the Post.
Airbnb later paid for Penzari to stay at the InterContinental hotel in Times Square for two nights with meals and paid to change her door locks, clean her apartment and replace some of her bedroom belongings, according to the Post.
Airbnb said it was cooperating with police over the prostitution claims, saying in a statement, “The entire hospitality industry deals with issues like this, and we have zero tolerance for this activity.”
Last month, Airbnb paid a man more than $20,000 after he found his apartment and belongings damaged by people who were preparing his home for an orgy for plus-sized participants, promoted online as a “XXX Freak Fest.”