A Florida woman went to stay at an Air BnB in Tulum and hoped for a nice holiday. Instead, it was fraught with suspense from arrival. The main guest, Amber Jackson, and her friends thought they were about to become victims of sex trafficking.
First, there were the mysterious paint splatters on the door that Jackson thought looked like blood. She contacted the concierge and was told there was no need to worry as it was actually paint. That didn’t allay her fears at all, but she and her friends decided to stay in the rental property as planned.
Then Jackson noted that there was no way to lock the bedrooms. According to Apartments Apart, “she noticed that the keyboards weren’t set up for the rooms; it would essentially allow anyone to access their rooms at any time. Jackson reconfigured the keyboards himself.”
The third problem arose three days after their stay when an unknown man who claimed to be a security guard showed up in front of the house. But he hadn’t been there from the start, which made the guests suspicious.
Jackson again reached out to the janitor and owner, but it didn’t work. She and her friends went to sleep with knives nearby and checked out the next day.
Wild 94.1 It wasn’t until Jackson contacted Air BnB directly that she finally heard from the homeowner who refunded her only $67 when the total was $3,671.65. Jackson then posted a bad review of the home on AirBnB, but found that her review had been removed.
Fortunately, Jackson and her friends escaped unharmed. But when she shared the experience online, other women made similar accusations against the same owner and property. After receiving a string of bad reviews, the owner changed their name and profile picture on Air BnB.
This isn’t the vacation rental giant’s first sex-trafficking tango.
In 2020, Air BnB stepped up efforts to combat this by joining forces with Polaris, a non-profit human trafficking organization. The rental company has been criticized for not doing enough to address the problem. In response, Air BnB rolled out a detailed plan for protecting hosts and guests.
This included personal host training. According to USA todaythis “would help the host community identify signals or triggers in the nature and style of the reservation and provide actionable steps to report potential human trafficking.”
If you’re planning to rent an Air BnB anywhere in the world, keep that in mind and keep your wits about you.