The pandemic has hit a lot of people hard and students in the UK are no exception, as a result of the financial hardship being experienced by many – sex work at British universities is booming.
For many students the high university fees are funded in part through grants and in part through part time work, the latter taking care of living expenses for a high proportion of those attending university.
The pandemic and lockdowns has made traditional part time jobs rare, so for many students they have had to look at alternative ways to fund their education. The solution sex work.
An article in the Berliner Zeitung lays bare the problem. University fees are on average around £9,000 per month, although grants are available to those on low incomes, and monthly living expenses for even the most frugal can range between £800 and £1,500 per month.
These expenses are much higher for those foreigners who choose to enrol at one of Britain’s many respected universities.
Estimates range as high as 70,000 students could be involved in the sex work trade, which by all accounts is not new but rather having increased substantially during the consecutive lockdowns.
Lucy’s story is not that unusual
After losing her part time job and having no joy finding new employment, Lucy found that it was a case of quitting her studies or taking any option, in her case she chose sex.
Lucy who started out by offering pictures on OnlyFans the erotic portal, said that just didn’t bring in enough money. So she chose to go further saying “I have always enjoyed sex, and there was just no other way that could be adapted to my university schedule.”
The official numbers
Surveys have been undertaken to understand the scale of the problem, with a survey by Save the Student showing that as much as three percent finance their studies in this manner. Perhaps more disconcerting is that as much as another 9% have or are seriously considering the option – the news that sex work at British universities is booming likely to convince more to take a second look.
The surveyors say that the number is very high but it allows those who work in the industry to afford their courses, as it does the flexibility to work and study. Interestingly, OnlyFans has seen a 75% increase in the number of years over the past year or so.
Some universities recognise the problem
The highly respected Durham University has recognised the problem and is now offering an online training course for sex workers. According to the university it is about education saying “sex workers often already belong to marginalized minority groups. The stigma surrounding sex work is undeniable, and hence we understand and recognise that most students are not comfortable sharing this part of their life with others. Nevertheless, we want our student sex workers to feel safe and supported with us. ”
Sex is taboo
The course which was put together in partnership with the student council has not been received well by everyone, sex working being taboo in Britain. Some believe that what universities like Durham and Leicester are doing, is legitimising a dangerous industry.
But Durham say this is not about legitimising the industry but rather about recognising the problem and ensuring that out students remain safe at all times. We do the same for drugs, alcohol and mental issues so why not sex work.
This is not a uniquely British problem
The trend seen in Britain is the same across Europe and other countries with students suffering the same problems. The rise of online platforms like OnlyFans and JustforFans has just made it easier for students to engage in sex work, to operate from home or their dorm.
In Germany the view is that around 7,500 students are sex workers.
For politicians it is about removing an industry they view as evil, however for those who are struggling it is not surprise that Sex work at British universities is booming.
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