CHARLOTTE, NC -- The oldest profession is going high tech, and it’s a bit creepy.
People are posting ads on Craigslist offering up “free rent”, but what do you have to do to get that free rent? Is it really free, or is it a crime?
“Well, you’re a hell of a lot hotter than I ever expected” said a man meeting an undercover TV producer with Gannett. This guy, and many others like him nationwide, are placing ads on Craigslist trolling for female roommates, but with some specific requirements.
“Well, like I put on there, I’m looking for a roommate with benefits.” The benefit to the woman? Free rent. The benefit to these guys? Sex.
“What I was actually looking for was for someone to sleep with me in my bed” said another guy placing an ad. A Gannett Producer responded to these ads and these guys were eager to get to know her.
“All I’m looking for is a little companionship” said a third man who placed an ad.
Producer replies, “What exactly does that entail?”
“Well, I mean if you are living here we are going to get to know one another” says the man.
“Would you expect it to turn into sex? I know you said that in the emails” asked the Producer. “Yeah” replies the guy.
His emails said he is hoping for sex 1 to 3 times a week.
These ads are popping up coast to coast. Here in the Carolina’s we found this one out of Columbia, offering a free room and more, but you have to be an “open minded” female.
In Charlotte, free rent, but you have to be a “dominatrix”. Another one in Charlotte was offering up free rent to the “right single lady,” but keep in mind -- you’ll have some “miscellaneous duties.”
And this guy posting this ad gets very specific: “free rent in exchange -- dress up night, vacations, and even trips to wineries.” Other duties might include some ‘light gardening’ and, most forms of sex are on his list too.
So are we just prudes, or is this illegal?
We showed all this to Matthews Police Officer Tim Aycock who says, “For sexual favors, meaning you can have these goods for free rent or something, that’s prostitution.”
Police say even just posting ads like these could be a crime called solicitation. It’s just like offering money out of your car window to a prostitute on a corner.
When reporters confronted some of these guys about their ads, one quickly bailed, but the others?
“How old are you?” asked the producer and reporter .
“Were you honest about your age?”
“No. Who am I going to meet at 50?” said the man. Age may not be his only problem, state records show he’s a convicted stalker.
Police tell us they see ads like these as dangerous hot spots for runaways who might not have anywhere else to go, and say, anytime you offer something of value in exchange for sex, whether it is free rent, drugs, or even expensive gifts, it is considered prostitution and both parties can be charged.