The chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has called for research to be conducted into the number of incidents of women being propositioned for sex in return for free or reduced cost accommodation.
The rape crisis centre’s 24-hour helpline has received many calls from women complaining about the inappropriate behavior of landlords.
Such behaviour was “entirely inappropriate” and “may be a criminal offence” Noeline Blackwell said.
It is entirely unacceptable that someone proposition a vulnerable person for sex. It is entirely wrong and could be a criminal offence.
Ms Blackwell pointed out that under the current law someone who propositions a prostitute for sex is committing an offence, but the issue in these incidents was that the vulnerable person was not a prostitute.
Such a proposition amounted to sexual harassment, she said. “We know that people who are vulnerable are more likely to be taken advantage of, assaulted and raped.
“There is not enough data on this. In the UK research as found that over two years there were 140,000 incidents of people being propositioned for sex in return for accommodation.”
It comes after the Dáil has heard the case of a young woman who was propositioned by her landlord for sex in return to live rent-free in her bedsit.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy described as “disgusting and horrible” the story of the young woman which was voiced by Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger.
"Sex for rent has become a reality in Ireland,” Ms Coppinger said mat Leaders' Questions.