Sex For Shelter – Is it Immoral?

I was reading the internet whilst eating my porridge earlier, and came about a fascinating piece regarding landlords offering rooms to homeless people in exchange for sex. Needless to say, it perked my interest.

Homeless woman looking depressed

The practice, it is argued, exploits young vulnerable people who are just looking for a roof over their head.

One student described how she felt her only option was a “sex-for-rent” deal.

The woman said: “He took me into his living room, got me drinks, and then after that it was just straight upstairs and go for it.”

And she continued: “He would do what he wanted to do, forcefully, and I just sort of went along with it – after the third time, I started feeling physically unwell.”

Numerous Adverts

Adverts seen by BBC South East included one posted by a Maidstone man asking for a woman to move in and act as his girlfriend. There are various others also.

One advert posted by a London landlord asked for a “naughty girl” to move in.

Landlords who posted these adverts make it clear how the arrangement would work.

One said: “I was thinking once a week, something like that, I’m happy as long as there’s sex involved.”

Another said: “You agree sort of like a couple of times a week, pop into my room sort of thing, but as far as the apartment’s concerned, it’s like completely as if we’re flatmates. It’s all the bills, the rent, free.”

One landlord, who spoke to BBC South East on condition of anonymity, called the scenario like a “friend with benefits” arrangement.

He said: “You can argue that high rent charged by landlords is taking advantage too. There’s no compulsion for them to do this. Everyone goes into it with their eyes wide open.

“I am the last type of person who’d like to take advantage. Both sides have something the other person wants. I see it as a win-win situation.”

He had a six-week long arrangement of this nature with a former tenant and is now advertising for somebody to replace her.

“I can only speak for myself but I would prefer someone older – not someone young enough to be my daughter, ” he added.

However, there are people who disagree that this is a good thing.

Andrew Wallis, of anti-slavery charity Unseen, said: “I think these adverts go as close to the edge of the law that they possibly can without breaking the law.

“They would argue that they have chosen voluntarily to enter that situation.

“The trouble is when you have a vulnerable person who then becomes exploited, the concept of choice soon disappears.”

Exploitation or Not?

Usually in these kind of articles, I am one to sit on the fence. It is in my nature to see both sides of an argument, but here, I know exactly where I am, despite being pro-sex industry

Sex work is about someone selling sexual services through choice. It is actually empowering to many women and men when they enter the industry.

However, when someone is only doing it because the other option is to be living in cardboard city that night, then the choice goes away. This is where a mutually beneficial arrangement turns into exploitation.

We certainly do have an issue with homelessness in the country. This is something that needs to be worked on, as we are failing those who live on the streets. Still, this shouldn’t be the option. If homeless people are so desperate they feel they have to sell their bodies to have a bed for the night, where is their freedom of choice?

I am not sure how this can be regulated as I am well aware that for many, they will find this is useful, and it is a private arrangement. I am no legal expert, I am just going from a moral point of view. It is obvious that this is going to be looked at, so we will see what happens.

Most importantly, we need to do even more to help the homeless. We have a crisis on our hands. Whether intentionally, or granted, unintentionally, people are able to exploit the hardship of others.

That is not a way for a serious transaction to be based on.

That is my opinion anyway. What do you feel? Let us know in the poll below.

Martin Ward
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Martin Ward

Martin Ward is a well respected editor and writer with over five years experience in the adult industry. After stints in the Escort Advertising call centre and on the escort forum, he moved into the site editor position around three years ago.

Since then, he has specialised in articles on the battle for equal rights for sex workers, sexual health, as well as bringing the readers fun news from around the world. He also has a major interest in LGBT rights, and is an active campaigner in this field.

When he isn't fighting the good fight, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, and young daughter. He also enjoys reading and taking long walks.
Martin Ward
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