Jessica Mercedes Penzari, Robert Kalfus
Pimps and prostitutes have found a new way to make money without alerting the long arm of the law.
According to the NY Post, street walkers are using the controversial Airbnb home-sharing Web site to turn prime Manhattan apartments into temporary brothels.
One escort service is even saving a bundle by renting Airbnb apartments instead of hotel rooms for clients’ quickies, says a 21-year-old call girl who works for the illicit business.
“It’s more discreet and much cheaper than The Waldorf,” said the sex worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Hotels have doormen and cameras. They ask questions. Apartments are usually buzz-in.”
The prostitute, a buxom brunette who charges up to $500 an hour, said her escort service generally rents an Airbnb apartment in the Financial District or Midtown West for up to a week at a time — then cycles numerous hookers through the place for trysts around-the-clock.
The agency flies under the radar by having its workers secure the apartments through their own Airbnb profiles, then has them pay the rent with prepaid debit cards. The apartments usually cost between $200 and $400 a day.
“[They] probably save $200 to $300 a night by not getting a hotel,” the sex worker said. “It’s really good for business.”
One apartment that got turned into an hourly love nest belongs to publicist Jessica Penzari, 29, who rented it out through Airbnb March 21 through 23.
Airbnb, which operates in 192 countries, has been plagued by incidents of “guests” using its site for sexual escapades, including an orgy in Chelsea last month that was promoted online as an “XXX FREAK FEST.”
Late last year, a Washington, DC, woman reported that two men who rented her apartment over Airbnb used it for “male-on-male nude massage.”
Airbnb is also under investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for potential violations of a city law that bans apartment sublets for less than a month, as well as evasion of the nearly 15 percent hotel tax.
Airbnb said it was cooperating with the NYPD over the alleged prostitution.
“The entire hospitality industry deals with issues like this, and we have zero tolerance for this activity,” it said.
Source: Ny Post