A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as coronavirus lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said.
A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the United States found that 13% had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the coronavirus pandemic.
“If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the NFHA in an podcast on their website. “As a single mum, I had no choice. I didn’t want to lose my housing.”
Sex for rent has come under growing scrutiny in the United States and Britain in recent years amid spiraling housing costs. Charities have highlighted a rise in online adverts offering rent-free accommodation in exchange for sexual favours.
Under the new coronavirus pandemic, millions of people worldwide have lost jobs or income as lockdowns and travel restrictions have forced many businesses to close their doors.
Authorities in North America and Europe have introduced cash benefits, rent freezes and banned evictions in a bid to protect people from homelessness.
“Folks that are really vulnerable when faced with eviction, especially during a pandemic, they are sometimes faced with impossible choices,” said Morgan Williams, general counsel for the NFHA, which protects tenants against housing discrimination.
“The predators in the housing context … seize upon that vulnerability,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Data on the prevalence of sex for rent is scarce. With limited awareness of the issue, as well as legal ambiguities that mean victims could face prostitution charges, abuses often go unreported and unpunished, housing experts said.
A 2018 survey by the housing charity Shelter England found about 250,000 women in the country had been asked for sexual favours in place of rent in the last five years.
Wera Hobhouse, a British lawmaker who campaigns against ‘sextortion’ – the abuse of power for sexual benefit – said sex for rent was likely to be on the rise as people desperately wanted to stay at home under lockdown.
“The financial difficulty which many across the UK have experienced as a result of COVID-19 will mean that more people will be forced to accept these arrangements as an alternative to being made homeless at the worst possible time,” Hobhouse said.
NFHA’s Williams said many women did not report sexual harassment by landlords over fears they could lose their housing, or because they were struggling with other issues such as poverty.
“Pursuing complaints in the current climate is a difficult thing,” he said.
Kaarin Long, women’s rights attorney for The Advocates for Human Rights, a U.S.-based human rights organisation, said many sex for rent victims were already vulnerable, including sex trafficking survivors, ex-prisoners and ethnic minorities.
“It’s kept under the table, it’s kept quiet because those folks don’t like to work with formal systems because formal systems have not been good to them in the past,” she said.
Why We Rename Monkeypox – WHO
The World Health Organisation has said it will start using a new preferred term, ‘mpox’, as a synonym for monkeypox.
The change of name is following a series of consultations with global experts and both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out, according to the WHO.
In a press statement issued on Monday and made available to The PUNCH, it said when the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatising language online, in other settings, and in some communities was observed and reported to the WHO.
The statement read in part, “In several meetings, public and private, a number of individuals and countries raised concerns and asked the WHO to propose a way forward to change the name.
“Assigning names to new and, very exceptionally, to existing diseases is the responsibility of the WHO under the International Classification of Diseases and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications through a consultative process which includes WHO Member States.
READ ALSO: WHOWhy Nigerians Suffer Poor Healthcare – WHO
“The WHO, in accordance with the ICD update process, held consultations to gather views from a range of experts, as well as countries and the general public, who were invited to submit suggestions for new names.”
Based on these consultations, and further discussions with the WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO recommends the adoption of the new synonym mpox in English for the disease and mpox will become a preferred term, replacing monkeypox, after a transition period of one year.
“This serves to mitigate the concerns raised by experts about confusion caused by a name change in the midst of a global outbreak. It also gives time to complete the ICD update process and to update WHO publications.
“The synonym mpox will be included in the ICD-10 online in the coming days. It will be a part of the official 2023 release of ICD-11, which is the current global standard for health data, clinical documentation and statistical aggregation.
“The term “monkeypox” will remain a searchable term in ICD, to match historic information.
“Considerations for the recommendations included rationale, scientific appropriateness, extent of current usage, pronounceability, usability in different languages, absence of geographical or zoological references, and the ease of retrieval of historical scientific information.
“Usually, the ICD updating process can take up to several years. In this case, the process was accelerated, though following the standard steps.
“Various advisory bodies were heard during the consultation process, including experts from the medical and scientific and classification and statistics advisory committees which was constituted of representatives from government authorities of 45 different countries.
“The issue of the use of the new name in different languages was extensively discussed. The preferred term mpox can be used in other languages. If additional naming issues arise, these will be addressed via the same mechanism. Translations are usually discussed in formal collaboration with relevant government authorities and the related scientific societies.
“The WHO will adopt the term mpox in its communications, and encourages others to follow these recommendations, to minimise any ongoing negative impact of the current name and from adoption of the new name,” it added.
Proposed Orthopedic Hospital, Fistula Centre In Edo: More Facts Emerge
Joseph Kanjo, Benin
Recently, the media was awash with a report of two Specialist Hospitals – a Fistula Centre and an Orthopedic Hospital – proposed to be sited in Edo State by the Federal Ministry of Health. The ‘news’ of the report was not on the two federal health facilities to be sited in the heartbeat state, but the impediments to the establishment of the health facilities in the state.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, as reported by the media, had reportedly said though his ministry was set to commence the health facilities, bureaucratic bottleneck in acquiring land from the Edo State Government was largely responsible for the delay in takeoff of the facilities in the state. Ehanire was reported to have disclosed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin in his Palace.
But contrary to earlier report, facts have emerged that the Edo State Government, through the State Ministry of Health is fully in sync with the offer by the Federal Ministry of Health on the siting of the two Specialist Hospitals in the state, a closed source to the parties, Mr. Tony Abolo, who is in the know of the whole thing had disclosed to INFO DAILY.
According to the Ace Broadcaster and Veteran Journalist, Fistula Centre to be established at the Daisy Danjuma Health Centre, GRA Benin, and the Orthopedic Hospital to be established inside the premises of the EDO SPECIALIST HOSPITAL, along Sapele Road, Benin City not only has the blessing of the State Government, who instructed the State Commissioner of Health, Professor Obehi Akoria to accompany the visiting Federal Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to select the best of places most suitable for purpose, but has the promise of a full services support of the State Government.
He added that the location choices were made under the guided instruction of the State Governor, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, and had the team moving about as late in the day, when the Minister visited Edo State in order to show the enthusiasm of the Edo State Government.
According to him, the take off of the projects is expected to commence immediately as against earlier reports, as the sites are now agreed upon but the full commissioning will take place in the New Year.
“Interestingly, as a mark of concern of fulfillment and a duty to Edo State, the Hon. Minister of Health announced that the two projects have been injected into the 2023 budgetary provisions of the Federal Ministry of Health in the new fiscal year. To all intents and purposes, all hurdles surrounding the twin projects will be cleared as the Budget defence takes place soon in Abuja.”
Golden Jubilee: Free Training, Cancer Screening, Subsidized Surgeries Outlined To Celebrate UBTH @50
Free Cancer Screening, Executive Screening, Subsidized Surgeries and free training for first responders on basic life support are parts of activities mapped out for the 50th anniversary of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), slated for May 12, 2023.
The Chief Medical Director UBTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, disclosed this in Benin City on Wednesday while briefing journalists during the unveiling of the theme and logo of the golden jubilee celebration.
The theme of the 50th anniversary is ‘Advancing the Legacy of Quality Healthcare’.
He said the activities are part of giving back to the society for standing by the institution for the past 50 years.
Obaseki,who is a Professor of Pathology, said the free training which involves first responders like the members of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the police and drivers will be in December, 2022.
Obaseki added that the free Cancer Screening takes place in January, 2023, while the Executive Screening which involves medical Screening for top executives, including members of the Edo State Executive Council takes place in February, adding that the subsidized surgeries are to take place in March before the anniversary in May, 2023.
He also said that the famous medical institution built by the then governor of the mid- western region, Brigadier General Samuel Ogbemudia started as a 300-beding hospital in 1973, but hasnnow grown to a 900- Bedding facility today.
Eulogizing the founding fathers of the institution, he said: “If l have seen further than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants, that UBTH is a great tertiary multi-specialty. I make bold to say this morning that the successes and heights we have attained as a Teaching Hospital is because of the foresighted
ness and the labours of our founding fathers and heroes past.
“They set a solid foundation for us upon which every one of us that has come thereafter has
“l am convinced that on 12h May, 1973 when this great institution was commissioned, it was already set on the path of greatness. That the hospital started as a 300 bedded facility was a pointer to greatness that awaits her.
“We have come a long way these past 49 years and have achieved a lot along this evolutionary journey. We are the first public hospital to set up a neonatal unit in this country, the first to commence Invitro fertilization (IVF) in Nigeria
and still sustaining the service, the first to have a breakthrough in stem cell transplantation for the treatment of Sickle cell in West Africa with successful
outcomes just to mention a few.
He also added that
when his administration came in to office 5 years ago, “we immediately got to work and produced a document “the strategic reform Plan”, this document, according to him, “was reviewed when we got a renewal of our mandate.”
He maintained that the institution has a 50 years tripod projection which involves infrastructure upgrade, comprehensive Cancer Care and Comprehensive Cardiology Center as it major focus.
He lamented that the hospital waved N84 million for indigent patients in 2021 and that over N100 millions have been waved for the same class of people this year.
He pleaded that government at all levels capture more citizens into its health insurance schemes to enable the hospital sustain it’s operations.
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