Peter Kyle, Labour’s MP for Hove, sat down with home secretary Amber Rudd to talk about tackling ‘sex-for-rent’.
The MP has been campaigning on the issue for almost a year, and said: “In case you’ve not heard of this, men are advertising on websites for ‘free’ accommodation their home in return for having sex whenever they want it.
“It is mostly aimed at young women but in some cases the adverts are aimed at young men too.
“In Britain we have a housing crisis, cities like ours that have two universities, and new emerging web platforms where people can advertise for accommodation.
“These things have come together to create the conditions for sexual exploitation and our laws and law enforcement are struggling to keep up.”
Mr Kyle said although it was a criminal offence for landlords to offer sex-for-rent deals, no-one had ever been prosecuted.
“The problem is that there’s not been a single arrest, let alone conviction, since then and the problem is getting worse and worse,” Mr Kyle said.
Writing on his Facebook page after meeting Ms Rudd, who is the Conservative MP for Hastings, Mr Kyle said: “I try really hard to give credit wherever it is due, even in politics when it’s sometimes tricky to praise opponents!
“Amber Rudd was fully engaged and was horrified at the growth in sexual exploitation by ‘sex for rent’ and led a very frank conversation about possible ways forward.
“I told the home secretary that I felt the law needed testing, that the Home Office must find agency to enforce it and start a prosecution, and if the law isn’t robust enough then we should consider legislation to strengthen the law.I’m really pleased that these areas are going to be looked into and I’ll be keeping in close touch with her staff to make sure progress is swift.
“If we’re not careful this type of exploitation will become normalised for young people so we really do have to act now.
“I for one won’t let this go until protection of the law is strengthened for those who need it the most and I’m really pleased that the home secretary seemed as animated by this as I am. You’ll be hearing more from me on this one!”