Undergraduates have traditionally pulled pints or waited tables to pay their way through university, but a growing body of research suggests that a significant number are now turning to sex work to make ends meet.
The rise in fees which will see some students graduate with projected debts of up to £53,000 at the end of their course is being blamed for persuading young women and men to take up pole dancing, escort work or even prostitution. Experts say that university welfare officers are largely ignorant of the growing phenomenon and poorly equipped to deal with issues arising from young people’s involvement.
Research by Dr Ron Roberts, of the University of Kingston, published in 2010 suggested that one in four students know someone who had worked in the sex industry to fund their studies – up from three per cent in 1990. Dr Roberts found 16 per cent would consider working in the industry while more than one in 10 were open to the idea of being an escort.