University students are struggling more than ever with finances, as living costs rise. With expenses including, rent, bills, food, transport and general social activities, the student loan is no longer covering the necessities even with the added income of a part time job.
Over the years the UK has seen an increase in student sex workers using the industry to help pay for the expenses of student living. According to the 2018 ‘save the student’ survey, around 3% of UK students use the sex industry on a regular basis to fund basic living necessities, this has also seen a rise of up to 4% during periods where students are especially strapped for cash. One student from The university of Sheffield said “I hated my part time job, I was on minimum wage working 10-hour shifts which mixed with my student loan barely covered my rent, this line of work gives me flexible hours to work around my studies and I have extra cash, so I can actually experience university life. I won’t do it forever, but it works for now and I actually enjoy it.”
A recent article in the Guardian, highlighted the increase in students sex workers and the surge in awareness from universities, with The University of Brighton providing a fresher’s fair stall offering free healthcare advice and none judgemental support for students partaking in sex work.
Despite the increase and awareness of students moving into the industry, the negative views surrounding the field has led to a reluctance from students to reach out for support and advice. Only a third of students (33%) within the industry will confide in healthcare providers, councillors and university staff about their line of work. This has meant students have no advice in regards to exiting the industry with barriers such as low paying job alternatives and mental health issues keeping them within the trade.
By Lorna Tyler