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More students are turning to sex work during pandemic

The number of students turning to sex work is rising as a result of the pandemic, Sky News has learned.

Figures show the percentage of those considering sex or adult work in a "cash crisis" has nearly doubled compared with last year.

Statistics given exclusively to Sky News by Save the Student show that 10% would consider sex work in a financial emergency.

The figure was 6% in its 2019 Student Money Survey.

'Without sex work I'd be struggling'

In a separate study, 7% of students said they had actually turned to sex or adult work during the pandemic as a way of plugging the gap.

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Some 77% were female and 22% male, with 1% preferring not to say.

Rose, which is not her real name, turned to online sex work after she effectively lost her job in a restaurant as a result of lockdown.

More from Covid-19

She says she is also classed as high risk in relation to COVID-19, so working through a subscription website was "safer" and "financially easier".

The student, who is yet to graduate, says some relatives do not know about her recent venture into sex work because they would not understand.

She explains that without the work, which she describes as "performing and modelling", she would be "struggling" financially.

Tom Allingham says it's been 'one of the toughest years financially for students for a very long time'
Image: Tom Allingham says it's been 'one of the toughest years financially for students for a very long time'

"Nothing below the waist" is the line Rose says she has not crossed.

The woman, 20s, says she "loves" her new source of income and refers to it as "one of the best things" she has ever done.

"I used to be anorexic and now I am the most body confident I have ever been in my life," she told Sky News.

"(It's) very, very liberating. I'm in control of my own content and of my own body and I can do whatever I want with it because you can set your own levels."

Her boyfriend knows about her work and is supportive. She says she earns hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pounds a month.

Rose says she feels safe doing it "most of the time" and the website's safety features help to make her feel secure.

She says that with an unencrypted website she once "had something leaked on to a very dark site …which did scare me".

Hospitality and retail sectors have been hit particularly hard by job losses, both areas where students tend to find part-time work.

As a result many have been affected by a loss of income, as well as diminishing financial support from their parents due to the worsening economy.

Jessica has set up the country's only student sex worker support group
Image: Jessica has set up the country's only student sex worker support grouRead More – Source
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