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Ireland: new bill will criminalise ‘sex for rent’ exploitation

Irish political party, Sinn Féin have announced plans to introduce a bill criminalising ‘sex for rent’ exploitation.

A 2023 survey from the Irish Council of International Students (ICOS) found that 5% of international students had been offered a room or seen a room advertised in exchange for sex.

Further responses to the survey found that 70% of rooms advertised in exchange for sex were found on social media.

‘I found out about a vacancy that would be available right at the time I would arrive,’ said one Male respondent from Brazil. ‘I thought the vacancy would be for a sofa bed, but when I got there he showed me the place and said the vacancy was for sleeping on the bed with him and asked if we could have sex.

‘I was shocked, I immediately refused and said that I was not looking for sex in exchange for accommodation. It was very scary, especially because I didn’t speak English well.’

Another female respondent from Brazil stated: ‘A group of people said that I could only move in if I was willing to have fun with those who lived there and some other people who live there.’

ICOS have previously called for government action to protect private renters from predatory behaviour in both 2022 and 2024.

Laura Harmon, Executive Director of ICOS called this predatory behaviour one of the ‘insidious effects of the housing crisis’:

‘For over two years now, ICOS has been calling on the Government and Minister Helen McEntee to introduce legislation to clamp down on sex for rent. It is a disgrace that we still do not have legislation on this area and that vulnerable international students and people in general are being exploited and targeted.’

Image courtesy of Library
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