SEX FOR RENT: GROWING EPIDEMIC FOR VULNERABLE WOMEN TENANTS – MANY CASES UNREPORTED
Women say that predatory landlords are asking for sexual favors in exchange for rent during the coronavirus outbreak.
Millions of people around the world have either been laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic as governments impose harsh lockdown measures to curb the spread of the disease.
But unscrupulous landlords are attempting to exploit vulnerable tenants who find themselves mired in financial trouble and are unable to pay rent, according to reports.
US immigration attorney Kevin Block says some landlords are asking for “other arrangements” and even sending graphic sexual images when female tenants ask about rent.
“I am concerned because reported incidents indicate a greater number of unreported incidents,” Mr Block told CNN.
Khara Jabola-Carolus, Executive Director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, says sexual harassment by landlords is making lives from women extremely difficult.
“There was no plan upfront to prepare for the physical and sexual violence from the combination of shelter-in-place, lost income and systemic sexism,” Ms Jabola-Carolus said.
In February it was reported that desperate tenants are sleeping with landlords instead of paying rent in a growing “sex for rent” epidemic.
A national survey Shelter Scotland recently found that 220,000 women nationally said they’d been asked for sex for their tenancies.
The Aberdeen Law Project, based at Aberdeen University, invited MSP Kevin Stewart, Detective Sergeant Craig Currie, Mark Thomson from homeless charity Shelter Scotland and Marsha Scott of Scottish Women’s Aid as part of the workshop.
Mr Thomson said there is a “vast amount of under-reporting” on the growing issue, where tenants are asked by landlords to offer sex in exchange for rent.
He added: “We are aware anecdotally that it does happen in Aberdeen.
Earlier this year a woman urged others to be safe after sharing her messages with a ‘landlord’ who offered to lower rent in exchange for nude photos.