Short Lets and Brothels: police force warns agents and landlords

A police force has issued a warning to agents and owners of short-let properties to look for signs of modern slavery or sexual exploitation.

The Avon and Somerset Constabulary says over 40 per cent of the intelligence it has on modern slavery is linked to off-street prostitution; some of this may happen in short-let accommodation rented via online platforms in a bid to avoid detection.

The issue is common in a number of areas across the country.

Superintendent Mark Edgington, force lead for modern slavery at Avon and Somerset police, says: “Pop-up brothels in short-term rental properties are increasingly being reported across the UK and it is important that property hosts are able to recognise the signs of potential modern slavery and sexual exploitation.

“Many hosts are completely unaware their properties could be used for this or the signs they should be looking out for.

“If using an online booking service, we would always suggest that hosts check the profile of anyone requesting to book their property and read the reviews from other hosts.

“Some online services will also allow hosts to require that all guests provide identification before they are able to book, this can give some assurance that the tenant is really who they say they are.

“Property hosts have an important part to play in helping us to identify potential exploitation and it is their responsibility to ensure that any suspicious activity within their properties is reported.”

Anyone with information about a pop-up brothel can call the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121700, or 999 if they believe a person is being trafficked or in danger.

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