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Hunted by the sex for landlords: men who advertise rooms in exchange for sexual favors


Thousands of women are being exploited in a growing Sex for Rent scandal during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Daily Mail.

Predators take advantage of young women by promoting “free” accommodation to engage in sexual activity.

American billionaires behind the US website Craigslist benefit from the exploitation of vulnerable young British women.

Men use the website to target university students – some even state that they are looking for graduates from Oxbridge or First Class.

According to research by the Shelter charity, 30,000 women in the UK have been proposed with explicit "agreements" since March. The agreements are illegal and the convicts can be imprisoned for seven years but never been prosecuted. Our investigation revealed:

Disgusting ads run from across the UK every day – with an increase going online during the last national lockdown;

Former developer Fredrick Allard, 70, offered a bedroom in his six bedroom home in Wiltshire in exchange for weekly erotic massages

More than 20 men contacted by undercover reporters posing as a 21-year-old student offered free accommodation in exchange for sexual acts.

An HMRC employee, a former member of the RAF support command and a retired building contractor made disgusting proposals for a "free lease".

Shameless Craigslist bosses have ignored letters from MPs and government ministers asking them to stamp out the problem.

Labor MP Peter Kyle last night accused Craigslist of acting like pimps and called for an end to the "dirty practice that sexually exploits and enslaves young people".

"Just because they're frappuccino-drinking tech gurus doesn't hide the dirty way they make their money," he said.

“These predators see any crisis, both personal and public health, as an opportunity for exploitation. These people should not be free to promote their crimes, they should stand before a jury that is responsible for their crimes. & # 39;

The room in Edinburgh is offered by David Price 28 in exchange for sex

The room in Edinburgh is offered by David Price 28 in exchange for sex

Mr Kyle is calling for a change in legislation to make it easier to prosecute offenders who are currently laughing at the law. Landlords who offer rent-free accommodation to tenants in exchange for sex are committing an offense under Section 52 of the Sexual Offenses Act 2003.

In a YouGov survey commissioned by Shelter, 1,266 private renters in England were asked if they were suggested by a landlord. A total of 0.7 percent said they had done so, and according to Shelter, 30,000 private tenants were offered "Sex for Rent" agreements between March and September. According to research in 2018, 250,000 women in the UK were offered free or discounted rent in exchange for sexual favors over a five-year period.

A quick search for "free rental" on Craigslist brings up dirty listing pages in university towns including Oxford, Bristol and Brighton. Rogue landlords operate in villages and towns too – with annoying ads in Kent, Wiltshire and Devon.

In a shocking example of brazen exploitation, an ad titled Sex for Rent carried the caption, "Did Covid-19 Steal Your Future?" Another, based in West London, was applying for "an eager and successful successor to a university student or graduate who may have been without housing because of the pandemic". The men, often over 40 years old, are aimed primarily at women between 18 and 25 years of age. As a 21-year-old student, Mail reporters said they had lost their jobs due to Covid, could no longer afford rent and needed a place to stay.

Fredrick Allard, 70, sent texts requesting massages in exchange for accommodation in his six bedroom Wiltshire home

Fredrick Allard, 70, sent texts requesting massages in exchange for accommodation in his six bedroom Wiltshire home

All men immediately requested pictures. After sending pictures of her face, reporters were repeatedly asked for full body photos, height and bust. Disgusting predators also asked if they had a boyfriend and if they were "open-minded". Many began to send disgusting messages stating their expectations.

Using WhatsApp video calls and zooming in, reporters spoke to three men who gave them a tour of the property. This included developer Fredrick Allard of Tidworth, Wiltshire, who said he expected nude massages in exchange for a room in his six-bedroom semi-detached house.

28-year-old HMRC employee David Price offered a room in his apartment in a trendy part of Edinburgh once or twice a week. And former RAF Support Command Lyndon Savage, 55, said the reporter would share his bed and that he was enjoying the "pleasure".

Craigslist, a classifieds website founded by Craig Newmark in 1995, has hundreds of intrusive posts. 68-year-old Newmark, believed to be worth £ 1 billion, stepped down from managing Craigslist in 2000, handing the reins on to current chief executive Jim Buckmaster.

58-year-old Buckmaster is a "social anarchist" who ground his own soybeans into tofu. Despite being worth more than a billion pounds, he paints himself the man of the people: taking the bus to work and wearing flip-flops to business meetings.

Lyndon Savage, 55, offered to share his one-bedroom apartment with undercover reporters, giving them £ 150 a week in exchange for sexual favors

Lyndon Savage, 55, offered to share his one-bedroom apartment with undercover reporters, giving them £ 150 a week in exchange for sexual favors

The subject of "sex for rent" was raised by Mr. Kyle three years ago. In 2018, the public prosecutor issued revised guidelines on “Prostitution and the exploitation of prostitution crimes” to include cases of “sex for rent”. The guidelines suggest that such agreements could commit the offense of causing prostitution for profit under Section 52 of the Sexual Offenses Act 2003.

However, under current legislation, victims must be legally defined as prostitutes, which is a deterrent to vulnerable people who may not be willing to speak up about fears that may affect their future.

Nick Dent, Kingsley Napley's criminal defense attorney, said he doubted there would be any successful law enforcement action under existing laws. He said, "If people want this to be criminalized, investigated and prosecuted, then it likely requires a specific offense that makes it clear that this is the purpose."

While platforms like Gumtree addressed the issue as soon as it was brought to their attention, Craigslist has yet to respond to requests to stop hosting criminal posts.

The company, which employs around 50 people at its headquarters in San Francisco, is valued at up to £ 7.5 billion. It makes money by charging a small percentage of users for showing ads while keeping the service free for the majority. In 2010, the New York Times reported that Craigslist was set to make £ 23 million from sexual income that year – nearly a third of its estimated annual revenue of £ 80 million.

Shelter's Polly Neate said, “Private rents are deeply unstable, but the impact of the pandemic means many more people, especially women, are facing serious financial hardship. This makes them vulnerable to exploitation. Sexual harassment by landlords is a gross abuse of power. & # 39;

Craigslist, Mr. Newmark, and Mr. Buckmaster did not respond to requests for comment.

Lyndon Savage, 55, offered to share his bed with a young woman for sexual favors

Lyndon Savage, 55, offered to share his bed with a young woman for sexual favors

CASE STUDY 1:

I wanted to be "pleased"

A former member of the RAF support command offered women who could not afford accommodation due to Covid a "free rent" if they "pleased" him.

Lyndon Savage, 55, sent explicit messages to undercover reporters replying to his Craigslist ad for "female long-term home shares only".

But his "free rental" offer included sharing his bed and engaging in sexual activities with him. He offered to give a Daily Mail journalist posing as a 21-year-old student a car, smartphone, gifts and £ 150 a week in exchange for "long-term friendship and camaraderie".

Savage, from Uxbridge, west London, promised he would take care of the reporter if she "pleased" him. He vividly outlined the sexual acts he expected them to perform.

Savage did not respond to requests for comment.

28-year-old HMRC employee David Price called an undercover reporter on his lunch break to discuss a sex-for-rent arrangement at his Edinburgh apartment

28-year-old HMRC employee David Price called an undercover reporter on his lunch break to discuss a sex-for-rent arrangement at his Edinburgh apartment

CASE STUDY 2:

Asked about breast size and pictures

David Price, 28, posted an ad on Craigslist in October for a room with vacant living space.

Edinburgh-based Price, who works for HMRC, said "man seeks female roommate for companionship and more during lockdown".

Reporters replied, posing as a 20-year-old student who had lost her job.

Price then asked for pictures of the reporter, including a "full body picture".

He also asked about her breast size. Speaking on WhatsApp, Price said he would expect "company and sex" instead of rent once or twice a week.

When approached, Price said he posted "out of curiosity" with "no intention of coping" and was unaware that it was a criminal offense.

Scottish law is different and illegality cannot be accepted without a police investigation.

Former developer Fredrick Allard, 70

Former developer Fredrick Allard, 70

CASE STUDY 3:

"I would expect something in return"

It started out what any video call between a landlord and a potential tenant could look like. The proud Fredrick Allard started up at his six bedroom house showing the rooms he was promoting. Complete with double beds, TVs, WiFi, and a new bathroom, they were "a great deal," he said.

But after a 20-minute tour of the semi-detached house in leafy Tidworth, Wiltshire, the retired builder went to his bedroom, lay down, and made it clear that he was expecting something in return. "Nothing is free in this life," he said.

Allard, who claimed to be 50 but is 70 according to the electoral roll, posted an ad on Craigslist in October for a "vacant room" for a "single attractive young woman."

As a 21 year old graduate who lost her job due to the pandemic, our undercover reporter contacted the homeowner about the listing. Allard immediately asked for a picture of the reporter before texting: "You understand that the room is not completely free, I would expect something from you in return."

When asked what he meant, he said, "It's a good deal, no bills or bail or rent … I'm sure you are not shy about what you are offering (sic)."

The reporter sent a picture of her face but asked for more photos and asked her to "send a nice picture of yourself as if you were interested". He said he was looking for a "weekly arrangement" and added, "I like to give massages and please a woman. Anything else would be nice. What have you prepared for me? (Sic) & # 39;

When the reporter asked him to explain what to expect, he said Craigslist was a site for "more personal" arrangements and added, "Ordinarily you would go to a site like SpareRoom.com or roomtolet … but obviously not one Position where you can do that because, for example, they want a month of upfront money plus a deposit plus references and usually a surety … I don't charge anything. I pay all the bills myself. '

Allard hesitated to explain what he would want in exchange for the accommodation. He said he had to be "careful" and feared that he would be admitted.

He added, "You're a student so you should have been around a few times … nothing is free in this life, is it? What i expect from you Well, we're both adults, almost at least you're almost an adult. & # 39;

Allard said he would like to give and receive a weekly massage from the reporter "with a little kindness and a little touch" in exchange for the room.

He assured her that he would not push for anything else and added, "Trust me, I am a gentleman."

When reporters later tried to contact Allard, claiming they had the wrong number, he hung up and blocked callers.

We have to fight back against this Abuse

comment by Peter Kyle MP

Searching for "free accommodation" on the Internet shows hundreds of ads like: "Free sofa bed for homeless girls", "Share my bed for free", "Free room for women, 18-30 years", "Looking for a female roommate" , no bills, £ 0 & # 39 ;.

Most of the ads run through Craigslist, the online classifieds service, are as sick and bold as they appear. Predators offer young people, usually women, rooms or beds for free in exchange for sex.

And while both the website and the government know this is happening, they are not making the slightest effort to prevent it from happening.

Men openly give their phone numbers and sometimes their names and addresses or even their photos – but no one in this country has been arrested or prosecuted.

So obvious are these sex offenders that even Inspector Clouseau could find them and imprison them. I am shocked that the ministers will not take any action.

When a journalist drew my attention to the practice and the dangers involved for vulnerable young people, I hesitated to believe it. The evidence on the screen seemed too outrageous and I was convinced it wasn't a joke.

I couldn't understand how the law allowed this to happen. In my naivete, I also assumed that as soon as the government and police were made aware, action would be taken.

In 2017 I wrote to then Attorney General David Lidington. He replied that the offer to accept sex in lieu of rent was an incitement to prostitution and was therefore illegal under Section 52 of the Sexual Offenses Act 2003.

But six months later nothing had been done. The Justice Department had given me no evidence that offenders had been brought to justice or condemned only as a precaution.

I challenged the government and asked why they weren't enforcing the law, and wrote to then Home Secretary Amber Rudd. She set up a meeting and was just as horrified as I was. An investigation by the Interior Ministry has been launched, but has disappeared without any action.

Successive Interior Ministers Sajid Javid and Priti Patel have failed to contact me to address the issue. All work previously done was simply dropped. It's incredibly frustrating. There are three steps that should be urgently taken.

First, ministers need to ensure that the law is enforced. This is a clear offense and, thanks to the lack of cheap accommodation, especially in university towns, it is endemic. Second, the law needs to be changed so that those who advertise to exploit people in this way are guilty of an independent crime.

At present, incitement to prostitution is linked to a prison tariff, but this also imposes a label on the victim. In order for a perpetrator to be found guilty, the law defines the young woman or young man he is exploiting as a prostitute.

It is perfectly understandable that under current law, victims of this crime prefer not to bring charges.

Who wants to get in touch and go through this type of trauma, especially in a test case that might get media attention? Make no mistake, this is abuse and exploitation. Victims can leave, but then they could be homeless. You can't reach out to friends and family without admitting how they lived. Often times, you find yourself in a deeply uncomfortable trap with no obvious escape route.

Craigslist executives might be looking into the issue now, but they are not showing the slightest concern. So my third request is that the government get the California tech company up and running immediately.

Craigslist's managers refuse to acknowledge my calls, emails, and letters.

I feel a special poison towards this arrogant society. It seems that Silicon Valley tech bosses are facilitating these horrific crimes on their website, but ministers only go weak on their knees instead of confronting them. If we let this scandal fester, countless others will be trapped, abused and endangered. It is time to take a stand.

  • Peter Kyle is Labor spokesperson on victims and youth justice

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