England

Pledge to review 'sex-for-rent' online adverts

Woman in bed crying Image copyright Getty Images/martin-dm
Image caption The ads have been described as exploitative

Calls for a review into online adverts offering young, vulnerable people accommodation in exchange for sex will be looked at by the justice secretary.

Liz Truss was responding to a question by Hove's Labour MP Peter Kyle, who wants the adverts banned.

A BBC South East investigation found the deals, which are legal, are on classified ad sites such as Craigslist.

Craigslist, which on one day carried more than 100 such adverts, has not commented.

In the House of Commons, Mr Kyle said: "Websites such as Craigslist are being used by corrupt individuals to advertise free accommodation in return for sex.

"Will the Secretary of State agree that this is happening at the moment within the law and a review needs to take place so that people who are doing this and exploiting extremely vulnerable young women will face the full force of the law."

Ms Truss replied: "I agree with the honourable gentleman that this is concerning and I'm very happy to look at that issue."

Adverts seen by BBC South East included one posted by a Maidstone man asking for a woman to move in and pretend to be his girlfriend, another publicising a double room available in Rochester in exchange for "services" and one in Brighton targeting younger men.

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

One landlord, who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity, defended the deals as a "friend with benefits" arrangement - but charities have described the adverts as exploitative.

In Sussex, police have urged anyone who believes they are a victim of exploitation to contact them.

Image copyright Getty Images/Manuel-F-O
Image caption Adverts targeted both men and women

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