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Problem 15:59 07 Jun 2022

Someone offers you housing for sex: what to do?

Why you can't accept free housing offers for "doing housework" and where to complain if you were offered to pay for accommodation with intimate services

What is the problem?

With the beginning of the full-scale war, many Ukrainians lost their homes and temporarily left the occupied territories abroad or into safer areas of Ukraine. The great part of those who left are women. Ukrainian women have to look for new homes, and many people are happy to help, but there are also unpleasant cases.

We are talking about incidents when women are offered housing for sex:

"Yesterday I wrote to a group that I was looking for housing for my mother. A man wrote to me and said that he might find something. Then he wrote that he was actually looking for a Ukrainian woman for a relationship, because there is such a situation, and he has a son, housing and residence permit ", – the woman shares her situation in a Facebook post, supplementing the post with a screenshot of a chat with the man who speaks Norwegian.

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"I would like to be honest with you. I live in Asker and have my own apartment," the "friendly" man wrote.

I used to be a bachelor and now I am thinking of meeting someone with whom I can share my life and live together. So I thought and decided, due to the situation in Ukraine, to meet a woman from Ukraine who wants to live in Norway and have a good relationship with a man…I have an 8-year-old son, I work and study. "

Such cases are not uncommon.

Why do such "services" exist?

The offer itself is not something new: it is called "sex contre services", when men write that they will settle a woman who will provide intimate services instead of rent or will "live in the same room" with the "landlord", provide "service" or start a family. This name comes from France, and if you google these words, you can find whole groups abroad that offer housing for sex. For example, the French website g-trouve, where tenants and landlords place ads where they offer "intimate service" or "service" instead of paying money. In some cases, the tenant even has to pay a token amount for the accommodation.

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What is the solution?

What to do when someone offers you sex for housing?

Being in difficult circumstances, perhaps even for the first time abroad, experiencing despair and not having enough money to rent affordable housing in a new country, not knowing the language and not having a job, women, unfortunately, can agree to such conditions. Sex in exchange for housing becomes a necessity, and the body becomes a commodity, and such cohabitation is in fact prostitution. But what to do when you are offered housing with such conditions?

First, you need to understand that for someone this format of an exchange is acceptable. One of the persons we spoke to for the article explains: "Once I met a girl. It was a long time ago, in Ukraine. She came with a man much older than her, and she told me she was living in his house in exchange for sex. It was absolutely normal for her… "- so it is impossible to exclude completely that there is a woman who would agree to housing for intimate services, or men who consider such an exchange fair. However, in any case, such an exchange and perception of it by women or men as a norm is the result of discrimination and gender inequality. If you do not agree to such an exchange – say about it directly, refuse.

However, there may be a situation in which you learn about such an "exchange" post hoc, when you have already moved into someone's house. Many European countries are now accepting temporarily displaced people from Ukraine, and resettlement centers are relocating people to the homes of those who have agreed to receive victims of russian aggression in their homes. If the landlord starts talking about such housing conditions, when you have to "pay extra" with intimacy, you need to contact the migration center and explain the situation. When such a proposal crosses your borders, the only way out is to contact the police. Don't be ashamed to talk about being forced into an intimate relationship. This is violence, and it must be punished.

"It happens often that the women who go abroad have limited physical and social opportunities. Many people really help them, provide housing for the first time, etc., and it is impossible at first glance to distinguish who is adequate and humane and who is doing it with the intent to rape. "In any case, it is the raper who is to blame, not the woman who moved into a particular house," commented the administrators of the "Gender in Detail" community.

What to do when offered to do all the household responsibilities in exchange for housing?

But sex is not always the only condition. Sometimes "landlords" offer to do the household responsibilities only.

We reiterate that people who have voluntarily let you into their home as an immigrant do not have the right to require you to do their housework. In Ukraine housework has only recently started being perceived as a real work for which other people receive a salary. In Europe it is the norm. The work of a housekeeper or a house cleaner is a profession. With the money you can earn, you can not only pay for rent, but also buy other things and products, and pay for utilities. For example, a vacancy of a cleaner in Heikendorf, where job seekers are offered a salary of between 2,100 and 2,800 euros per month, and rent in the same city costs from 330 to 1,800 euros per month.

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Also, in addition to the official salary, you have the right to weekends, holidays, social insurance, are obliged to pay taxes and most importantly – this is a formal employment with clearly defined requirements for the results of your work.

So remember: if you receive free housing under the local resettlement program, the landlord has no right to require you to do additional work. If you are offered housing, where the initial condition of payment was doing the housework, you can refuse or agree – it is up to you. But such an agreement has its drawbacks, as:

  • there is no guarantee you will not be evicted the next day;
  • this is not a formal employment;
  • the price of the work you do is much higher than the price of rent.

The disadvantages of such an agreement are obvious. This, of course, does not apply to cases where you have voluntarily decided to help a person keep the house – the rules of courtesy should be remembered, as you will have to live together in a sensible manner.

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