Airbnb has grown to become a massively popular platform where people can put up their homes and apartments for others to use for vacations across the globe. It's no secret the website is especially popular in the Toronto area considering you can snag a steal of a spot anywhere in the city on Airbnb no matter the time or place.
Unfortunately, the popular app has come under fire specifically by Toronto police following some shocking stories that have come out of the woodwork. It all started after Sgt. Nunzio Tramontozzi from the Toronto police force noted that their department has seen a massive growth in human trafficking cases that are connected to Airbnb.
Apparently using Airbnbs as a hub or spot to conduct illegal transactions has become a big trend in the sex trafficking industry and it's causing major concern for local law enforcement. The police believe the popularity of the website is due to how easy it is to use Airbnb while remaining anonymous noting, "it's more anonymous for them, so it's a lot easier not to be caught by the police when they're in these private types of residences rather than hotels and motels where we could get more information."
The Sgt. outlined one of the more recent but haunting cases that involved an Airbnb with two 18-year-old male "guests" and a 19-year-old woman. The woman was forced into sex trafficking by the two men where they conducted their activity through different Airbnb properties across the GTA. Those two teens have since been apprehended and face a whopping 58 charges while the woman is safe but undergoing medical help and support.
For people who rent out their homes and apartments on Airbnb, the Toronto police recommend being more aware of the people staying on your property, and if something seems sketchy or off, report it.
Airbnb has been more than compliant with Toronto police and have been actively trying to help with the issues at hand, releasing this statement for concerned users, "Airbnb is strongly committed to working with law enforcement officials and anti-trafficking advocates to prevent these horrible crimes and to help hold criminals accountable."
Source: Huff Post Canada