Craigslist’s sex-housing market takes a hit

Craigslist is an online marketplace built around alternative exchange. It is a modern day bazaar, where seemingly anything can be had for the right price or the most creative barter.

For a Richmond-area housing rights group, however, some craigslist ads take too liberal of a stance on the free market.

Housing Opportunities Made Equal has made 20 formal complaints with the state and federal government, alleging certain housing ads on the site discriminate on the basis of race and gender, and require female roommates to trade sex for rent.

Here are two of the ads HOME is targeting:

One ad read “free rent for female…must be very attractive female because it’s rent free, preferably a light-skinned female or a Spanish female.”  Another offered a room for a dollar: “$1 Live-in housekeeper:  Hoping to find a nice, open-minded, willing female for a live-in housekeeper/lover. It would be a monogamous  arrangement where you would have your own room at no charge.  I am nice looking, 49, white, slender and healthy.”

The ads are anonymous and require a response from an interested party, but Amy Nelson, HOME’s director of systematic investigations and enforcement, believes the ads appeal to the truly desperate and vulnerable, and might actually attract willing tenants.

“This is not sex between consenting adults. When sex is demanded as part of a housing transaction, someone who needs the housing may be desperate and feel that they have no choice but to agree. The effect on the victim can be devastating and last for years.”

HOME’s complaints target ads based in Richmond and the surrounding counties, as well as Fredericksburg, Virginia Beach, Newport News, and Hampton.

Craigslist is an online marketplace built around alternative exchange. It is a modern day bazaar, where seemingly anything can be had for the right price or the most creative barter.

For a Richmond-area housing rights group, however, some craigslist ads take too liberal of a stance on the free market.

Housing Opportunities Made Equal has made 20 formal complaints with the state and federal government, alleging certain housing ads on the site discriminate on the basis of race and gender, and require female roommates to trade sex for rent.

Here are two of the ads HOME is targeting:

One ad read “free rent for female…must be very attractive female because it’s rent free, preferably a light-skinned female or a Spanish female.”  Another offered a room for a dollar: “$1 Live-in housekeeper:  Hoping to find a nice, open-minded, willing female for a live-in housekeeper/lover. It would be a monogamous  arrangement where you would have your own room at no charge.  I am nice looking, 49, white, slender and healthy.”

The ads are anonymous and require a response from an interested party, but Amy Nelson, HOME’s director of systematic investigations and enforcement, believes the ads appeal to the truly desperate and vulnerable, and might actually attract willing tenants.

“This is not sex between consenting adults. When sex is demanded as part of a housing transaction, someone who needs the housing may be desperate and feel that they have no choice but to agree. The effect on the victim can be devastating and last for years.”

HOME’s complaints target ads based in Richmond and the surrounding counties, as well as Fredericksburg, Virginia Beach, Newport News, and Hampton.

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Kent Brockwell
Kent Brockwell
12 years ago

Where was this when I was paying $700 per month for a moldy Fan closet during college?!? Being mentally scarred for life by a pleather-clad cougar weilding a riding crop would have been a small price to pay for four years of rent-free lodging.

Jackie-VA
Jackie-VA
12 years ago

Well, I’m moving to Richmond soon… but I guess that those ads will be out of the list by then! Now on a more serious note, I believe that those things should be controlled. I’m not saying that people should not answer something like that if they want to, but put them on the sexual encounters with a heavy dosage of warnings, at least 3 pages of “confirm age” and warnings about the dangers of giving information and answering those kinds of ads. Sometimes people are just too gullible or too stupid to think more about the open proposition that… Read more »

DG
DG
12 years ago

There’s far worse on CL than ads like this.Look in “Rant and Raves” and you’ll discover a seedy racist uneducated underlife full of hate speech.The fact that CL allows this is why CL is ultimately a failure of format.User control = no control.Listings are arbitrarily removed just because someone else decides to target them yet pure hate is left untouched.Scams and rip offs are rampant.At least these housing listings mentioned don’t hide what they are really about and allow the reader to decide for themselves if they are willing to agree to the terms.