Labour has called on parliament to back its new plans to make Landlords asking for ‘sex in lieu of rent’ a specific offence.
The proposal, which was first published within the party’s Green Paper called ‘Ending Violence Against Women and Girls’, calls for the creation of a specific offence of using a landlord-tenant relationship to solicit prostitution. The idea is to better enable the police and courts to tackle this kind of sexual offending.
In 2019 the Crown Prosecution Services drafted new guidance for police and prosecutors to help them deal with sex-for-rent cases, but Labour says this does not go far enough.
An estimated 30,000 women have propositioned through online ads on social media and classified listing platforms and even property portals to provide sex in lieu of rent, and it has taken until January this year to secure a court case.
Christopher Cox, 52, is accused of asking women to send him photos of themselves wearing bikinis and to provide sexual services in exchange for a room.
He is facing two counts of inciting prostitution for gain and one count of controlling prostitution for gain. He pleaded not guilty at a hearing in February.
During a debate calling on the government to do more about sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice David Lammy accused the government of ‘dithering’ and among the many proposals he proffered, this includes stronger action against landlords who advertise ‘sex for rent’ arrangements.
“Frankly, while the Government dither – and we have been surprised on the Labour Benches by the dither – Labour has had to step in,” he said.
“Today, we ask Members of Parliament from all parties to back our plans to do a few things.”