National child safety advocacy group, Stop Child Predators, called on state and local government leaders in the U.S. today to ban hidden cameras in Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, and enact regulations and criminal penalties for violators. The group says enough is enough after a string of recent news stories regarding hidden cameras found in Airbnbs, including a story last week of a mother and young daughter potentially being filmed undressing.
“Week after week Airbnb finds themselves the subject of yet another hidden camera nightmare. These horrific accounts from Airbnb guests demonstrate how unsettling it is for guests that find themselves being filmed without their knowledge or consent – a scenario especially frightening for those traveling with children,” said Stacie Rumenap, President of Stop Child Predators. “Airbnb is allowing families to become sitting ducks for potentially predatory hosts who exploit guests by filming them and their children for personal viewing, or even wider audiences on the web.”
Rumenap points to a series of recent news stories involving hidden cameras discovered in Airbnbs and says the occurrence of incidents is on the rise.
• “Airbnb Has A Hidden-Camera Problem” (The Atlantic, 3/26/19)
• “They Were Settling Into Their Airbnb. Then They Found A Hidden Camera” (The Washington Post, 4/6/2019)
• “California Couple Finds Hidden Camera Above Bed At Airbnb Rental” (ABC News Channel 7, 3/29/19)
• “Man Discovers Hidden Cameras Inside Of Miami Airbnb” (WTNH News, 1/21/19)
• “At An Airbnb? You Might Be On Camera, Whether You Like It Or Not” (NBC News, 3/7/19)
“Airbnb already poses a problem for parents by allowing strangers, and even potential sex-offenders, into short-term rentals in residential family neighborhoods. With a revolving door of strangers coming and going from short-term rental properties, tools like sex offender lists are becoming obsolete as there is no safeguard in place to stop a child predator from renting an Airbnb property next door. Now, parents need to consider the added stress of worrying that their children may be filmed and exploited while staying inside an Airbnb on vacation,” stated Rumenap.
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Stop Child Predators urges government leaders, especially in states and localities with major tourism destinations, to step in and protect traveling families whose privacy and safety should be safeguarded while vacationing in their jurisdiction.”
“Airbnb’s inability to manage the users, and abusers, of their platform is unacceptable. It’s time for government leaders to step in to protect our children,” stated Rumenap.