Ireland’s rent prices are so high now that landlords have begun offering accommodation in exchange for sexual favors.
This phenomenon comes as the cost of rent in Ireland hits an all-time high, and the country sees the lowest number of properties available for rent on record. According to Daft.ie, the average nationwide rent in Ireland is now €1,131 a month. The average monthly rent in south Co Dublin stands at €1,868.
The Irish Times reports that in the last week alone, 10 “sex for rent” ads were posted online on the classifieds websites Craigslist and Locanto.
For the most part, the ads were placed by men offering women rent-free accommodation in exchange for sex. One man was looking for younger males to share his bedsit, while two other men were seeking accommodation in exchange for sex.
The ads are usually cryptically phrased — not explicitly mentioning sex but implying that accommodation will be offered in exchange for unspecified services.
Dubliner Carl, 44, has placed ads several times in the past few months for a man between the ages of 18 and 21 to share his bedsit with him rent free.
His advert says he is bisexual, prefers “open minded bi/gay student aged males,” and that although the accommodation is rent-free, he does charge €25 a week for electricity and wifi, He adds that as a photographer, he might “require” the younger man to do “some modelling in lieu of rent.”
One man, who lives in a suburb of Dublin and describes himself as 30-years-old and single, posted an ad looking for a female for a “two-week trial period”, with “longer availability possible.” In lieu of rent, she could do housework and massage him. He asks interested women to email him “and tell me a little about you.”
He adds that the woman who moves in will “preferably” be Latin American.
Another man, named Jack, who placed an advertisement on Craigslist in April looking for a woman to move in rent free in exchange for sex, told The Irish Times: I was splitting up with my girlfriend and was looking for an alternative way of doing things. I got around 30 replies, all interested, from different places around Europe. However, I am still with my girlfriend, so I won’t be meeting anyone else.”
One man advertising a free bed for a female who “can look after” him and “keep the house clean” said he is not looking for sex. “It’s just an offer for a needy, honest woman who could have free accommodation in return for cleaning a four-bed house,” he told The Irish Times.
Some men who need accommodation themselves are offering sex in exchange for a place to stay.
A man posted: “I am desperately in need of a room or shared room for the next month or so. Anywhere in Dublin is good. I’m hoping for a free place to stay and in exchange can offer my time and companionship. I’m open to discussing your requirements. Room needed immediately so if you can help, please don’t hesitate to call.”
One man, “a serious African male looking to find a room to rent during the weekends” says that he has his own house already but needs a room within driving distance of Dublin while he is attending classes. He is willing to pay up to €400 a month, in addition to offering sex to “preferably a mixed-couple black male and white female.”
Another man is charging €450 a month for the spare room in his flat but hopes to find a woman “who likes to wear leather and latex around the apartment.”
Ruth Breslin of Ruhama, a Dublin-based NGO that works to protect women from prostitution and sex trafficking, says she is concerned about the sex-for-rent trend and that it puts women in danger of sexual exploration and forced prostitution.
“We would always very broadly define prostitution or sexual exploitation,” Breslin said. “Very often it might not actually be money that is exchanged, but anything of value. So, for some women, that might be drugs. For others it might be food, or sometimes it might be for their children. In these cases it’s for a roof over their head.” She adds, “It’s an example, as far as we’re concerned, of sexual exploitation.”
Foreign women arriving in Ireland for the first time are particularly vulnerable.
“She might find herself highly reliant on somebody who is acting as a landlord but is looking for a lot more than your usual landlord-tenant arrangement," said Breslin.
“If she’s somebody who has come here without any networks or social supports, and she has nowhere else to go, what might become of her?”