Tarn: the lucrative business of “hotel pimping”

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They rented or sublet apartments to prostitutes in the department. Four people were tried Thursday by the criminal court of Albi and were sentenced to suspended prison sentences.

The investigation started in March 2018 thanks to the “tip” of a taxi driver from Gaillac, who was regularly contacted by the same number to pick up young women on avenue Dom Vayssette and bring them to the station.

Investigators from the Gaillac Gendarmerie Research Brigade realize that this phone number is associated with several advertisements published online on escort sites. They set up a hideout on avenue Dom Vayssette and locate the apartment that hosts prostitutes.

One thing leading to another, other accommodations were identified, this time in Albi. To the west of the city, rue de la Poudrière and rue des Brus, but also in the Madeleine district, rue Rinaldi and on avenue Dembourg.

250 to 400 euros rent per week

The tenant of Gaillac’s apartment, a woman in her forties of Cameroonian nationality, prostituted herself and sublet her accommodation between 250 and 300 euros per week and per prostitute. She was not present this Thursday at the Albi Criminal Court for her trial.

In Albi, the apartment on rue de la Poudrière was rented by a young man with the aim of subletting it to prostitutes. He was paid in cash when the keys were handed over, around 400 euros a week. At the helm of the court, he explains that he fell in love with a prostitute whose client he was and that he got into this subletting business for the sake of profit.

His former girlfriend, of Brazilian nationality, was initially auditioned as a simple witness but also finds herself before the judges. Several clients questioned by the investigators claimed that the latter had sent them to other prostitutes. What she denied at the bar. On the other hand, she admitted having sometimes made her accommodation available for “girlfriends”.

Among his clients is the owner of a building at the Madeleine, who is the fourth defendant in this case. He had rented her an apartment in 2015 but broke the lease the following year when he realized she was prostituting herself and subletting the accommodation. Not for a question of morale: he himself admits having paid sex on a regular basis. But in order to rent the accommodation to other prostitutes, at more attractive rates. 350 euros per week, again payable in cash on delivery of the keys.

In his submissions, the prosecutor spoke of “subletting pimping”, rather “amateur” given the profile of the four defendants. But he recalled that the mere provision of accommodation to a person engaged in prostitution is an offense punishable by law.

The court pronounced suspended prison sentences: 8 months for the two clients and 6 months for the two prostitutes. The two men were also fined 5,000 euros, including 2,500 euros suspended.

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