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One in nine students would resort to sex work if they faced a financial crisis, a shocking new study has revealed.
The explosive survey also found that 3% of students across the UK have sold sex in order to pay their way through their studies.
The Student Money Survey 2021 reported that 75% of students struggled to support themselves and three-quarters thought about dropping out of education, The Daily Record reports.
Many students said that they cut out meals or turned to "dangerous" means like drug trials to earn some extra cash.
Selling intimate photos online is the most common sex work for students.
The sale of used clothing for sexual gratification was closely followed as the most popular.
Other students in education got involved in prostitution, pornography, and webcamming.
Laura Brown, of Save the Student, who created the survey, said the 'unstable' part-time job market due to the pandemic saw the usual student funding sources dry up.
She said: “The thought of any student entering a situation that is potentially dangerous out of desperation for money is heartbreaking.
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"If students find themselves drawn to sex work because of financial difficulties, I would urge them to reach out to their university support services and to find out about alternative forms of funding that could be available to them.”
Encompass, a network of agencies which supports people in commercial sexual exploitation, believe that students were being naive to believe sex work was "easy money".
Brown continued: "From OnlyFans to escorting to sugar daddy experiences, women are given the impression this is a quick fix.
"However real-life experiences are far from the glamorised myth being peddled and there are long-term impacts from involvement in the sex industry, particularly on safety and their mental and physical wellbeing.”
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Back in March, it was announced that students at the University of Leicester would be offered advice if they turn to sex work to earn cash.
The university sent a new guide to staff entitled "Student Sex Work Toolkit for Staff in Higher Education”.
The guide explains some things that staff can do to support students who engage in sex work, Mirror Online reported.
The document describes that “sex work” covers a wide variety of different services, including escorting, stripping, and using paid online platforms such as OnlyFans.
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The term “sex work” was chosen because it helps to break the stigma surrounding the industry.
The document's authors, Gaynor Trueman, Saskia Hagelberg, and Teela Sanders, also advised staff about how they should support students, stressing that they should not be judgmental and make sure that a student involved in sex work is “positively supported”.
They add that staff should also not “assume the student wants to leave the sex industry”.
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