Sex workers used in 'pop-up' brothels by gangs exploiting Cambridge Airbnb boom
Police have warned hoteliers and landlords that their properties can be rented out by organised gangs and people traffickers
Dozens of sex workers are working in Cambridge but police fear many are being used as sex slaves in ‘pop-up’ brothels by organised gangs using Airbnb.
Detectives and front-line officers are using new tactics as part of a move to smash the modern day slave trade of gangs trafficking people from across Europe to work in the city.
Operation Mantis, which was launched to safeguard sex workers and target gangs preying on vulnerable young women, has boasted major successes.
Police have also spoken to hoteliers and landlords in the city to warn them how their properties can be rented out for a few days to open a pop-up brothel.
A report by Cambridgeshire police to the city council said properties are rented for two to three days then the occupants move on.
Inspector Nick Skipworth, who spoke to landlords, is spearheading the operation and has assembled a team to visit sex workers to give them welfare packages, which included information about sexually transmitted diseases.
Police have also seized cash from the criminal gangs.
Insp Skipworth told the News: “Owing to the transient nature of the sex worker community estimations of numbers change. However 40 is sometimes a fair position for Cambridge and surrounding areas.
“The pattern of vulnerability is consistent. We regularly encounter sex workers who do not know how to contact the police.
“Our work is part of the local policing response to organised crime and is focused on safeguarding and disrupting organised criminality around modern day slavery and those controlling prostitution. The visits feature as local policing engagement activity with this hard-to-reach group. As a result this activity is efficiently managed.”
Officers have now visited more than 100 sex workers over the past few months.
The increase in short lets in the city plays into the hands of gangs who move sex workers around the country, police said.
Police are also contacting hoteliers and landlords in the city to warn them about pop-up brothels - which have been advertised on social media.
Detectives have already seized £1 million from an organised gang.
Anyone concerned for the welfare of sex workers is asked to call police on 101.http://oldestprof.com/index.php/crimewa ... irbnb-boom