• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
'Naive' Swedes are renting homes to Airbnb hookers
File photo of a couple in a Swedish apartment. Photo: Sandra Qvist

'Naive' Swedes are renting homes to Airbnb hookers

The Local · 8 Feb 2016, 14:40

Published: 08 Feb 2016 12:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Feb 2016 14:40 GMT+01:00

Swedish police have spoken out about growing numbers of prostitutes using sublet apartments to charge for sexual services.
 
According to Simon Häggström, head of the Stockholm police unit leading investigations in the capital, prostitutes are active at around 200 addresses on a typical day in the city, with hotels no longer their accommodation of choice.
 
"Second hand apartments are now the largest market for prostitution in Stockholm," he told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN), which broke the story.
 
The police officer explained that many of the hookers were using properties that had been advertised on sharing economy sites such as Airbnb, with pimps creating fake profiles of respectable couples purporting to be the renters.
 
"People are naive. They should think of some more about who they rent out to second hand," he said.
 
He explained that the police team currently had four members and said that he was pushing for more resources to expand its work in the wake of the rise in Airbnb hookups by sex workers.
 
A press representative for Stockholm police told The Local that no one from the unit was available to expand on the revellations featured in Dagens Nyheter until later in the week.
 
Pye Jakobsson, a spokesperson for Rose Alliance Sweden, which campaigns for the rights of sex workers, said it was "probably" the case that prostitutes had started using Airbnb rentals more frequently.
 
She linked this to the acute housing shortage in Stockholm and a recent local government and police initiative training hotel staff in how to spot prostitutes.
 
"I would say it might be a result of the police's big push to train hotel staff – so that's out as an option. You don't want to work from home as that means risking to lose your apartment and outcalls some feel are riskier than incalls," she told The Local.
 
Sweden has some beautiful apartments, but policea are worried about sex crimes behind closed doors. Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
 
Airbnb issued a statement on Monday afternoon, arguing that it had a "zero tolerance policy" on sex crimes.
 
"Over 70 million guests have stayed with Airbnb, and problems for the hosts and guests are incredibly rare. If problems arise, we work quickly to take care of our hosts and guests and to permanently shut down users who abuse our platform and community," said the text, which was emailed to The Local.
 
Qasa, a Swedish startup which connects would-be subletters with people seeking to rent out their apartments, also waded into the debate, contacting Swedish media to say it was "concerned" by the image that the coverage was painting of the rental industry.
 
"What we want to do is to increase security around subletting," its chief marketing officer Henrik Hoffman told The Local.
 
Story continues below…
"I use Airbnb when I travel but I can see that there are some potential problems when people are only renting out an apartment for one or two days."
 
He said he wanted to reassure customers using Qasa – which specialises in longer contracts – that the firm was committed to their safety, for example by asking both parties to sign paperwork in advance and keeping a log of their Swedish personal numbers.
 
It is not illegal to sell sexual services in Sweden, but in 1999 the Nordic nation became the first place in the world to criminalise buying sex, in a move designed to punish clients rather than those working in the industry.
 
The law helped halve the number of streetwalkers in Sweden's cities by 2010, but the country is still facing a growing problem of sex sold over the internet and via mobile apps. 
 
Häggström told DN on Monday that many of the prostitutes are young women trafficked to the Nordics from eastern Europe.
 
He said that new sites advertising their services, often servers based abroad, can "pop up like mushrooms and can disappear just as quickly". But he added that his unit had managed to "put out a few" in recent months.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Why Sweden is now the EU's most competitive economy
Sweden has been ranked as the EU's most competitive economy. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

It's beating European giants such as Germany and the United Kingdom by miles, according to a key global ranking.

Is this the best cafe in Sweden to grab a fika?
Annas Hembageri in Mariefred. Photo: Sofia Marcetic/TT

Fill up the coffee cup and help yourself to a 'kanelbulle'. This is Sweden's best café according to food experts.

Poll shows cost of spring crisis for Swedish government
Swedish PM Stefan Löfven and Deputy PM Isabella Lövin at a cabinet reshuffle in May. Photo: Erik Nylander/TT

The survey suggests the current Swedish government would not receive the largest share of votes if an election were held in May.

Presented by Malmö Town
How Malmö is becoming the next hub for foodies
A dish at Malmö restaurant Bord13. Photo: Gustav Arnetz

When you think Malmö, do you think cheap falafel? Think again.

Fewer than 500 of 163,000 asylum seekers found jobs
Migration offices in Sweden. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Of almost 163,000 people who applied for asylum in Sweden last year, fewer than 500 landed a job, according to a new report.

Opinion
The eight ingredients that created the Swedish model
Where did the Swedish model begin? Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

What is the Swedish model and who invented it? Thinktank chairman Anders Källström presents the eight reasons behind Sweden's success.

Sweden lack fire without Zlatan in Slovenian stalemate
Sweden coach Erik Hamrén. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

But who are the other players who got a chance to shine ahead of the Euro 2016?

Swedish economy beating European giants in 2016
New numbers from Statistics Sweden paint a positive picture. Photo: Micke Larsson/TT

Sweden's economy is leaving the likes of Germany and Great Britain in its wake, figures suggest.

Video
Meet Dynamite Erik, a Swede who blows things up for fun
Who doesn't want to blow up a computer? Photo: Erik Johansson

The Local talks to a Swedish farmer who has turned his hobby of blowing things up into a YouTube sensation.

Swedish police to trial use of taser guns
A file photo of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The weapons are designed to incapacitate assailants through an electrical current.

Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Gallery
Property of the week: Mariestad
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
National
How this Swede was turned down for a job because of her head scarf
National
Swedish police trial use of taser guns
Blog updates

27 May

Editor’s blog, May 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, Would you spend a day doing manual labour in high heels? That’s what Swedish…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
National
'Sweden would not be able to defend Gotland'
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Gallery
People-watching: May 27th-29th
National
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
Gallery
The best, cutest and funniest snaps from Prince Oscar's christening
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Travel
Is this town the best place in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
'A sustainable Sweden must embrace diversity'
Gallery
People-watching: May 25th
Society
WATCH: Why Swedish handyman wore pink high heels for feminism
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Sport
LIST: Top-ten ridiculous things Zlatan has compared himself to
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Business & Money
Why Swedes don't want the euro
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
3,315
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se