The long-running saga of unscrupulous landlords taking advantage of lone tenants to suggest a ‘sex for rent’ arrangement continues with a debate in the House of Lords on Monday.
At the debate 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.
Offering accommodation in return for sexual favours is a criminal offence, but only one person has been charged for it, in February of this year.
Under current legislation itcan be difficult for a victim of this practice to come forward as for a prosecution they need to be defined as a prostitute.
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