France is in the throes of its worst housing crisis since World War II, which has led to some sordid dealings in some cities. With many young people unable to pay sky-high rents, landlords are offering apartments “for services”—usually sexual ones, the BBC reports. As homelessness and bankruptcy skyrocket throughout Paris, such Faustian leases are often the only option.
“Rent was over 70% of my budget,” said one woman, who wrote a best-selling book about her descent into housing prostitution. Major protest groups have cropped up, keeping the crisis in the public eye by exposing abusive landlords and holding colorful public stunts. One group has taken to squatting in an abandoned bank, which it redubbed the “Ministry of the Housing Crisis.”