Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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'Stop Child Predators' Warns: "Parents Should Be On the Alert For 'Strangers' In Communities"

200,000 visitors expected in Miami for Super Bowl 

scrabble block spelling strangers
                                                                                        Photo by Shamia Casiano: Pexels

MIAMI, FL – Stop Child Predators, a national child safety advocacy group, is raising concerns with the expected increased usage of short-term vacation rentals during the Super Bowl. We are warning parents in the Greater Miami area to take extra precautions to keep their children safe.

With thousands expected to rent out homes to visiting Super Bowl fans, complete strangers will be infiltrating homes in neighborhoods across the region. Parents should be on heightened alert for out-of-town visitors in their neighborhoods during the week leading up to the big game and speak with their kids about what to do if approached by a stranger.

In Florida, human trafficking is becoming more and more of an issue.

Last month, an article in the Sun Sentinel reported that a 13-year-old girl who was sold as a sex slave in Tamarac, Florida. It was reported: "These encounters occurred at Airbnb rentals, police said. It was at one such rental that investigators managed to track down the runaway.”

Short-term vacation rentals being used for human trafficking are becoming a growing issue across the U.S.

Last year, Maryland's Capital Gazette reported that Sgt. Deborah Flores of the Maryland Police Task Force highlighted this issue during a real-estate seminar: "AirBnb’s are now used for sex [trafficking]."

Many others have warned of the dangers of short-term rental homes, something of which not many are aware.

Over the weekend, KUTV in Davis County, Utah reported that a 29-year-old man was reported being charged with human trafficking after an underage girl was found in an Airbnb.

Over the last year, there have been numerous stories in cities across the country of Airbnb rentals being used for prostitution, drug trafficking and out-of-control parties, which have led to violence and even shootings in residential neighborhoods. Human trafficking has also been found to be an issue with short term rentals across the country.

Stop Child Predators is raising awareness of the potential negative impacts of short-term rentals. The new trend of commercial Airbnb hosts buying up residential homes and apartments to rent out as ‘mini-hotels’ has raised concerned with local community leaders across the country as neighborhoods cope with a weekly turnover of transients and strangers coming and going from their communities.

Tools like sex offender lists are becoming obsolete, as there is no safeguard in place to stop a child predator from renting a short-term rental property next door.

Short-term rental companies have not done nearly enough to combat the unacceptable actions of their operators and guests. If they truly care about the surrounding communities and neighbors living adjacent to their rentals, they need to step up because their status quo hasn’t worked.”

According to a report by U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, major events like the Super Bowl generate an "increase in tourists seeking entertainment, including commercial sex, increasing the potential risk for exploitation and human trafficking.  Traffickers are opportunistic hunters, and they see major sporting events and the hundreds of thousands of people who flock to sports venues as an opportunity for huge profits with very little risk of penalty or punishment."

Stop Child Predators encourages neighbors of short-term rentals during Super Bowl Week to be on alert and call authorities if they suspect a criminal activity such as prostitution, human trafficking, public drunkenness, illegal drug usage or the endangerment of a minor is occurring in a rental unit in their community.


Stacie Rumenap is the President of Stop Child Predators. She has extensive experience in legislative affairs, non-profit management and is dedicated to ending the exploitation of children.

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