Police warning holiday homes being used as brothels
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Pop-up brothels are on the increase and police are urging landlords to ensure they know what their homes are being used for.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary are encouraging hosts of short-term rental accommodations to look out for signs of modern slavery or sexual exploitation, which could be taking place within their properties.
More than 40 per cent of police intelligence on modern slavery is linked to off-street prostitution and officers are concerned traffickers are turning short-term and holiday rental properties into pop-up brothels to sexually exploit vulnerable women and girls.
The current trend sees prostitutes operating from short-term and holiday rental properties instead of a permanent address to avoid detection.
Superintendent Mark Edgington, force lead for modern slavery at Avon and Somerset police, said: "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.
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"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.
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"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."
Police are encouraging people to look out for signs which could indicate their property is being used as a brothel - these include multiple female occupants, male visitors who only stay for short periods, blacked out windows and malnourished or unkempt occupants.
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.