Some UK landlords across the country have offered free accommodation for sexual acts, a crime currently punishable by up to seven years, an investigation from The Mail on Sunday has found.
Undercover reporters emailed and met landlords in response to ‘free’ adverts for rooms and were told to get the free room they’d have to perform sex acts.
Shelter found in the last five years around 250,000 women have been offered sex for rent.
Jennie Bibbings, campaign manager at Shelter Cymru, said: “It’s horrific that young women – and men – are having to choose between being homeless or having sex with a creepy bloke.”
At the start of the year The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) classified such deals as an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which has a seven-year prison sentence.
But some MPs said this isn’t enough to deter landlords and have called for legislation to make offering a room for sex a criminal act itself.
Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove, added: “The way the law stands at the moment, if you are a victim of sex-for-rent you have to prove you have been forced to become a prostitute in order to get a successful conviction.”
“Craigslist have been acting like pimps by profiting from sexual exploitation. I do not see Craigslist accepting any responsibility for the exploitation of young people they are facilitating. I want sex for rent to become a specific named offence so we can start locking people up.”