HOUSTON (CBS Houston) — The ad may appear harmless: free rent for “roommates with benefits.” But a report from KHOU-TV finds that “free” can often come with a high price tag.
The station sat down with a Houston-area man who is behind a pair of such ads on Craigslist.
The man asked his name not be used. “Well, it means somebody who would be willing to be a sexual partner with you,” the man explained. “It’s all about the sex.”
In exchange, he promises free rent. “Go for a roll in the hay,” the man told KHOU. “Get up and go on with our lives. That’s all.”
“Nobody has to agree to it,” the man said. “I don’t force anybody.”
In the first month, he says he’s received three responses to his offer, but has yet to find a good fit.
The ads themselves may be illegal.
“Some of these may violate the law,” explained KHOU Legal Analyst Gerald Treece after reviewing the ads.
“Some of them just get right up and say, ‘I want sex for this room,’ and that’s no different than a solicitation for prostitution,” he said.
Treece warns the situation may not be safe.
“It’s like swimming in a pool that may have sharks in it,” he said. “You’ve got to really be careful on both sides. The guys have to be careful of what women are responding to this, and the women likewise.”
Police agree that there is a danger.
“I’ve seen a lot of victims of human trafficking, victims of the pimps on the street that the thought same thing (that it was a good situation) when they entered into that relationship,” said Capt. Charles Dunn. “Unfortunately, it turned physical, it turned violent and the next thing you knew, they were being held against their will.”
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