More Than 100,000 Students Selling Sex to Cover University Costs, Study Claims

Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

More than 100,000 students in Britain are working in the sex industry, a new study has claimed.

The three-year survey of 6,750 students by the ‘Student Sex Work Project’ found that one in 20 are involved in sex work to pay their way through university. Most of those students are involved in “indirect sex work”, with the five main activities for men being stripping, erotic dancing, “naked butler”, performing in pornography and selling sexual services online.

Women were more likely to sell sex on chat lines as well as take part in erotic dancing, stripping, glamour modelling and selling sex online.

More male than female students are involved in sex work, the study also found.

The student found that around five percent of respondents had worked in the sex industry, with more than half wanting to cover basic living costs, and 45 percent wanting to avoid debt. Over 50 percent also said they were motivated by curiosity about the sex industry, while 44 percent were seeking sexual pleasure.

The report also says that more than a third received “negative judgments” from their family and friends, and that most did not tell anyone what they were doing due to “stigma”. Thirty-six percent also said they feared violence, while a fifth were having counselling.

If these figures were extrapolated onto Britain’s more than two million students, this would mean more than 100,000 of them are working in the sex industry.

The study comes as the General Election campaign gets going in Britain, with the Labour Party promising to cut university tuition fees if it wins power in May. The study was supported by the Welsh branch of the National Union of Students, who campaign for free university education.


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