Man charged over ‘sex for rent’ allegations appears in court in first case of its kind

Christopher Cox alleged to have posted adverts on site Craigslist looking for young or homeless women

Maya Oppenheim
Women’s Correspondent
@mayaoppenheim
Wednesday 24 February 2021 20:56
<p>‘Sex for rent’ refers to the exchange of rent-free housing for sex</p>

‘Sex for rent’ refers to the exchange of rent-free housing for sex

A man accused of offering housing in exchange for sex has made an appearance in court in what is thought to be the first case of its type in England and Wales.

Christopher Cox, of Cranleigh in Surrey, is alleged to have posted adverts on a classifieds website looking for young or homeless women to stay with him at his home.

The 52-year-old allegedly asked prospective tenants to send him photos of themselves while asking that they wear bikinis and provide sexual services in exchange for a room.

He appeared at Staines Magistrates' Court by video-link on Wednesday charged with two counts of inciting prostitution for gain and one count of controlling prostitution for gain.

The charges, between May 2018 and November 2018, are believed to be the first to be brought in England and Wales over a so-called “sex for rent” arrangement - when rent-free housing is offered in exchange for sexual acts.

The allegations were passed to Surrey police in 2019 following an investigation by ITV researchers before the force identified a complainant who has alleged she entered into a sex for rent arrangement with Mr Cox.

He gave no indication of pleas to two charges of inciting prostitution for gain, between 21 August and 6 September 2018 and 4 and 7 November 2018.

He gave a not guilty indication to a count of controlling prostitution for gain between May 17 and June 27 2018.

Mr Cox, sporting a grey beard and glasses, spoke to confirm his name, date of birth and that he has been of no fixed abode since August last year during the brief court hearing.

District Judge Julie Cooper sent the case to Guildford Crown Court on 25 March.

Mr Cox was granted unconditional bail ahead of the next hearing.

Additional reporting by wires