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Students turn to sex work to pay for university

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Students are turning to sex work to deal with unexpected costs at university, a study has found.

Research by money advice site Save the Student found one in 10 students use their bodies to make money when faced with emergency costs.

The survey of 3,100 students found 76% rely on part-time work to bring in extra cash. Of those, 5% use their bodies to earn a living including things like medical trials and life modelling, as well as sex, sugar dating and webcamming. However, the figure is twice as high – 11% – when students are faced with emergency or unexpected costs.

The study found the average student receives around £600 per month in maintenance loan plus £138.50 per month from their parents. But with living costs coming in at £770 per month, many regularly don’t have enough to make ends meet.

Jake Butler, Save the Student’s money expert, said: “Every year, our survey reveals students are involved in sex work, whether by choice or because they’ve run out of options. They, along with other students struggling to get by, should be able to get the information or support they need.

“The statistic that fewer than half find it easy to get help from their university is a concern.

“It’s true that there’s been an improvement in recent years but sex workers still face an unfair stigma, and many may fear repercussions from their university over their choice of work.”

Sarah Lasoye, NUS UK women’s officer, said: “The cost to live and study in the UK makes sex work, and the rights of workers involved in it, just as much a student issue as tuition fees or student housing. That’s why more should be done to defend and extend these rights.”