Airbnb is cracking down on traffickers who turn its rental homes into “pop-up brothels” to sexually exploit vulnerable women and girls.
The short-term home rental company said it is working with anti-trafficking charity Polaris to train its staff and develop new ways to spot signs of exploitation.
MPs launched an inquiry last year after reports of temporary brothels springing up across Britain at tourist resorts and sites such as the Lake and Peak Districts.
Nick Shapiro, global head of trust and risk management at Airbnb, said the US firm is aiming to “spot and stop potential exploitation ahead of time”.
He told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: “Exploitation and trafficking are still all too common in today’s society, but we are eager to use our global reach to help assist in the effort to end it once and for all.”
In the US, at least 2,680 slavery victims were trafficked at hotels and motels – mostly for sex work – between January 2015 and September 2017, according to Polaris.
Airbnb said it already screens all of its hosts and guests and trawls through photos to check for signs of exploitation.
The US firm, which was founded in 2008, is now valued at about $31bn (£22m) and operates in nearly 200 countries.
The company’s anti-slavery push follows similar action by ride-hailing app Uber, which last month said it would teach its drivers how to spot traffickers and their victims when they book a car.
A spokesman for Polaris, which runs the US National Human Trafficking Hotline, said working with Airbnb offered “new ways to scale up the fight against trafficking”.
About 25 million people globally were estimated to be trapped in forced labour or sexual exploitation in 2016, according to the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation and human rights group Walk Free Foundation.