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Should Airbnb educate hosts about how to spot human trafficking and modern slavery?

Is it time for Airbnb to follow the hospitality sector, and take a more proactive stance against modern slavery and human trafficking? e.g. run awareness campaigns, build toolkits for hosts, and educate them on what to look for and how to respond – as well as coordinating with law enforcement -

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The problem is so many hosts don’t even bother to read basics around how Airbnb works i.e. Instant Book, host cancellations, setting prices, amending booking, extenuating circumstances etc.

What are the chances they would read through a whole toolkit on something not directly related to their business? @subaculture

Of course hosts should be on the look out but the reality is many remote hosts don’t know or in some cases particularly care who is staying at their listings .

I have self educated when an older man first booked with a younger woman. I have rules now that guests bringing in a minor child must be related. This world can break your heart sometimes.


Sorry – I don’t see it as AirBnb’s responsibility. Human trafficking is evil, granted.

But Airbnb is NOT an hotel. We are NOT their employees. They are our employees – our contracted marketing department, and our contracted finance department. If your local law enforcement agencies actually have an active anti-trafficking operation (most do not) then they should be contacting you as a host.

True, but Uber/ Lyft provide training to drivers, and they are not employees.

@subaculture are you a host or are you simply here to solicit hosts opinions, as you did with the other topic you created?


I can’t agree with you on this one @KenH. As hosts I do think it would be useful to have some guidance on what we should be looking out for and that Airbnb should provide pointers on what to look out for and who to contact.

Local enforcement wouldn’t have a way of contacting hosts. Airbnb and other listing companies do.

It is not about whether we are employees but how we can work together to minimise the risk of our properties being used by traffickers.

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This is a hot button topic for me. Human trafficking (including sex trafficking, which makes up a small percentage of the total), where individuals through force, fraud or coercion are compelled to provide commercial labor, is a terrible thing. It is even sadder in situations when child labor is involved (here in Maine, anyone under the age of 18 is considered to be trafficked if they engage in commercial sex, whether or not there is force, fraud or coercion involved). But the extent of child sex trafficking is greatly exaggerated in the media and by so-called “rescue” organizations, many of which have an anti-sex worker bias and actively seek to ban consensual commercial sex (i.e., prostitution), while doing virtually nothing that actually helps trafficked persons.

Human trafficking should not be confused with human (or people) smuggling, where people are transported illegally across borders. Unlike trafficking, people smuggling is characterized by consent between customer and smuggler - a contractual agreement that typically terminates upon arrival in the destination location. People involved in smuggling operations may also be victims of trafficking, for example when they are tricked about the terms and conditions of their role for the purpose of exploiting their labor, but not always.

To address the OP’s question (should AirBnB be educating hosts about trafficking), I would say no as I believe they would rely on the inaccurate, biased information put out by organizations such as Polaris, which does nothing to protect women and simply sensationalizes the problem.

Also, keep in mind that there are hosts here who do not have a problem with consensual commercial sex work (such a porn photo/video shoots) taking place in their rentals. I personally don’t give AF what consenting adult guests do in my rentals as long as they follow my house rules and don’t disturb my neighbors.

I won’t bore everyone by posting links here, but if anyone is interested in learning more about this, please PM me and I will be happy to hook you up with websites and research papers that explain some of the issues surrounding human trafficking in greater detail.


What breaks my heart is that most children are abused by relatives. (I’m not saying your policy is ill advised, no minor should be traveling with a non relative alone, just commenting on the sad reality.)


Fifty hearts for this post! You can send me your favorite links…I know some about the issue but am always looking to learn.

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