As the housing crisis continues, many international students have been harassed by landlords or offered rooms in exchange for sex.
Maura is a Bolivian student who came to Ireland after her undergraduate to learn English.
“One of my friends, also from Bolivia, came to Ireland to learn English,” she said.
“One day, she came to my house crying because she went to see a place that was one bedroom and the guy – the landlord or maybe a tenant subletting – said ‘We have this room’.
“[My friend] said, ‘Okay, am I going to live alone?’ and he said, ‘No, no, I live here’.
“And she worried because it’s only one bedroom – she said, ‘Where are you going to sleep?’ and he said ‘In the living room, but I will need to go to my bedroom when I need stuff and... you know... sometimes’.
“You know when sometimes looking at you with that face like ‘You know...’ - offering a one-bedroom apartment and you’re still living there, so it’s actually sharing the bed with you.”
Maura said her friend had been offered the bedroom in exchange for sex, adding that she eventually moved back to Bolivia because she could not find accommodation.
Earlier this week, a survey by the Irish Council of International Students (ICOS) found 5% of international students had been directly offered a room in exchange for sex or saw an ad offering “sex-for-rent".
In her own experience, Maura said she has found that some landlords might not directly offer sex-for-rent – but will make their tenants feel “really uncomfortable”.
When she first moved to Ireland, she paid €300 a month to share a room with three other girls – including one girl who she shared a bed with.
She said the landlord, who also lived in the apartment, behaved in a way she would describe as “sexual harassment”.
“He used to ask me and my friends to bring some ‘young Latin American girls’ over and he would make a pizza party,” she said.
“It was disgusting for us – during the day, he used to be around the apartment and try to hug you and touch you.
'If I say one bad word, I will lose the place'
Maura said she would avoid her apartment during the day after classes in case he was at home.
“I would go to a café or walk around the city until the night came so I can go just asleep," she said.
"I thought, 'Okay, if I say one bad word, I will lose the place'.
“[An apartment] doesn’t have to luxurious or very nice, but you have to have dignity and have a place where you can relax a little bit, sitting on your sofa."
Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan has tabled legislation that would make it illegal to require or accept sex as a condition for rent.
Sinn Féin has also published legislation that would make sex-for-rent illegal.