More than one in 20 (that’s around 100,000) university students are turning to some form of sex work to pay for their university education.
Recent research conducted by Kingston University has concluded that 16% of students are now open to the idea of “sex work”. Some escort agencies are now offering to pay their working students 100% of their tuition fees. This is very tempting for any financially struggling student. However, in the UK, a lot of society is still quite prudish, and are often not comfortable in openly discussing sex work. It can be a contentious issue for many students to openly talk about with their parents, who may have traditional and conservative views on sex and escort agencies. Therefore, many students carry out escort work in complete secret – not evening letting their university friends know. The industry is often ignored by universities who are embarrassed to discuss recent statistics. They may also not want it discussed at it puts the fact they are overcharging students with ridiculously high tuition fees into the spotlight.
There are a number of different types of “sex work” that have been included in studies that look into the trend; such as web-camming, stripping, and exotic dancing, but one of the most notable areas of growth in the sex trade has been university students providing escort services. But why are students, both male and female, becoming escorts?
Providing escort services means that students can earn money
With a three-year university degree leaving British students with debts of over £50,000 it’s not surprising that students are looking for ways to earn money on the side.
More common jobs, such as working in a bar or a shop, are badly paid and many people struggle to pay their basic living costs earning such a low wage when they also have to do their university work.
A successful escort can earn up to £4,000 a week, and still have time to get their education, so it’s unsurprising that making that amount of money has been appealing to those trying to make ends meet.
University is unaffordable for a large proportion of the population, and working through escort agencies enables those students to pay for their education.
Social media targeting is encouraging more students to sign on with escort agencies
The growth of internet users has led to an almost exponential increase in the number of online agencies providing escort services and apps also exist where local escorts can be contacted and connected with. It is easier than ever for people to find escort services, and as a result, agencies are looking for more escorts.
As the cost of living at university has increased, so has the number of escort agencies that target students online. It isn’t uncommon to see escort agencies posting on Fresher’s pages or messaging university students to entice them to sign up to their websites, and this has helped to drive an increase in the number of students that have considered escorting to earn money.
Some escorts see their job as an enjoyable way to earn money
In interviews and surveys that seek to dig deeper into the escort industry, many escorts say that they enjoy the job that they do. Of course, as with almost any job, escorting wouldn’t be appealing it if it didn’t provide a living, but feedback from a number of escorts is that they enjoy the social side of their job and would rather provide escort services than work in a pub or a restaurant for a lower wage.
However, the number of students signing on with escort agencies is not the same as the number of students actually escorting
However, providing escort services comes with many risks, both physical and emotional, and many students that have signed onto agencies but they have not done any escorting subsequently. Therefore the growth in students registering with escort agencies does not perfectly reflect the number of university students actually escorting, as many students have second thoughts about the risks and associations attached to escorting, and decide not to go through with it.
It has become apparent in recent years that university students, struggling with increasing expenses, are turning to the escorting industry to fund their studies.
Undergraduates are now facing tuition fees of £9,000 per year. No one can deny that this is a lot of money – and not the only fees facing a student such as accommodation and food costs. There has never been a more expensive time to be a student in the UK that today. So it is totally understandable why students are finding ways to fund these high costs.
The adult escorting industry is a very lucrative business where students can earn, sometimes, around £1000 a night. It is worth noting that there are just as many opportunities for male and female escorts in the industry. Many madams from brothels have commented on the fact they have received a large amount of enquires from male and female students offering their services. It is totally understandable that students would turn to this kind of work for a £1000 a night, where on minimum wage they could potentially only earn about £45. It is particularly appealing for students who don’t have the bank of mum and dad to rely on. The escort industry is also appealing to foreign students who have come over to the UK to study with even higher tuition fees to pay.
There are various forms of escort work that students undertake. It depends on what the student feels comfortable and safe taking part in. Some students work includes phone sex, pole dancing/sexy dancing, prostitution or in some instances just providing company for their client in a social environment. If regular work can be sustained, students can earn at least £15,000 a year in the escort industry. Students will often let the escort agency know in advance the level of sexual intimacy they are willing to take part in.
Young people are more savvy, independent and liberal than they have ever been. Sexually empowered female students in particular are now taking control of their finances and are benefiting from the gains of working for an escort agency. Some sex work can now be carried out from the comfort of a students flat using a camera. This is known as a “cam girl”. This is a very appealing way of students to make money and also very safe. Students can also choose their hours of work using online camera work. They can set their working hours around their working university schedule of lectures and exams. Some students, prefer to “get out there” so to speak and take part in lap dancing in clubs for example. It has been said that students can earn up to £800 lap dancing. Private one on one dancing can warrant even more financial gain.
There are various escort agencies that deal with specific types. For example some will specialise in male and male, female for male, female and female or male for female. Recent additions to many escort agencies include transsexual and transgender. The actual sexual orientation of the working student is irrelevant, it is up to them what line of work they feel most comfortable working in.
Some students enjoy the experience and don’t consider it as actually hard work. As one student put it “if I am on Tinder, I may as well sign up to an escort agency and get paid for it”. Some students have enjoyed the money so much that even after they have graduated, they have continued sex work to pay for their next financial goal such as buying a house.
It goes without saying that this is a growing industry that more and more students are turning to at time where student debt among students is growing out of control.