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And the laws have not caught up.

Sex for rent is a modern-day exploitative practice that is occurring in our towns and cities. A quick search on the internet highlights a number of advertisements looking for an “uninhibited young girl” or “a guy that is comfortable and enjoys hanging out naked at home” – with rent that’s either free or negotiable.

Most of us would steer clear of these adverts, because we are able to find money to pay the rent rather than having to perform “sexual favours” in return for somewhere to sleep. Imagine though, if you are unable to afford a deposit to privately rent. Imagine if the local authority doesn’t have anywhere to put you, or if they’re unwilling to take you on because of previous rent arrears. Imagine if you desperately need the safety of a roof over your head and a place to go home to. You might feel you were left with very little choice.

Folk who take up these offers, often women but sometimes men too, find themselves in a situation where they hold none of the power. The “landlord” can kick them out at any time. Because money is not changing hands, they’re not recognised in law as landlords. And also because money is not changing hands, there’s a legal grey area over whether or not this is prostitution. But make no mistake, these people are being exploited, controlled and abused. The system needs to change to afford them protection.

Any non-consensual or forced sexual acts are traumatic and leave emotional scars long after they take place.

The BBC, The Herald and journalist Vonny Moyes investigated this issue in April. Reporters following up the adverts have spoken to landlords who seemingly make a regular habit of inviting vulnerable people …read more

Source:: New Statesman

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