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News: Parliament to discuss Sex For Rent scandal today

Mon, 22 Nov 21

The House of Lords will today discuss the apparently-growing Sex for Rent scandal.

Campaigners say a search on websites such as Craigslist uncovers apparent offers of landlords offering accommodation for free, but with other ‘payment’ expected.

Activist group Generation Rent says it’s discovered euphemistic language used in the advertisements, including “you can pay in other ways if you want”, “we can come to an arrangement”, “females only…terms apply”, “free for the right lad” and “text me for more details.”

The adverts are aimed at men and women. 

One - quotded by Generation Rent but not sourced by the group - says: “I am gonna offer this room for only [£2 per week] because of Covid-19. I know how hard it could be for you guys to find a place specially if you are not working”. 

The advert goes on to say the room is “only for women” and “some favour in return expected”.

At the debate in the House of Lords today there will be amendments to the government’s Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is at Committee Stage in the Upper House.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede has tabled amendments which would specifically criminalise ‘sex for rent’ landlords and would implement financial penalties on websites and platforms who host sex for rent advertisements.

Back in January this year the Daily Mail contacted over 20 UK male landlords advertising on the US-owned listings website Craigslist - reporters were posing as a 21-year-old student who was repeatedly offered free accommodation in exchange for sexual acts.

The sexual overtures were made by an HMRC staff member and a former member of RAF Support Command amongst others. The Mail names some of the landlords it contacted.

Labour MP Peter Kyle has also been calling for three changes to the law to help eradicate the problem.

Firstly he wants the placing of suggestive ads on sites such as Craigslist to be made an offence; secondly he wants the creation of a specific offence in an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which may encourage more victims to come forward; and thirdly he wants Craigslist and similar online platforms to be accountable for the advertising they allow.

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