A 52-year-old man has been charged over “sex for rent” allegations in what is thought to be the first case of its kind in England and Wales.
Christopher Cox, from Cranleigh, in Surrey, is due to appear in court on 24 February to face two counts of inciting prostitution for gain and one count of controlling prostitution for gain.
“Sex for rent” refers to rent-free housing being given in exchange for sex.
Last year, legal guidance on “prostitution and exploitation of prostitution offences” was changed to make offering tenants rent-free accommodation in return for sex a criminal offence.
Senior crown prosecutor Claire Prodger said: “Following an investigation into so-called ‘sex-for-rent’ allegations, the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Surrey Police to charge Christopher Cox with two counts of inciting prostitution for gain and one count of controlling prostitution for gain.
“The charges arose out of an investigation by ITV researchers, passed to police in 2019, which resulted in further criminal enquiries.
“This is a complex case and we have reached the decision following a careful review of all the evidence gathered during this period.
“Criminal proceedings against this defendant are now active and he has a right to a fair trial.”
Peter Kyle, shadow minister for victims and youth justice, is among those who has long campaigned on the issue and called for landlords who offer accommodation in exchange for sex to be prosecuted.
The Labour MP said: “This government has failed to protect victims despite years of hard work by campaigners.
“The government must work with the police and criminal justice system to increase enforcement against this form of sexual exploitation.”