London, March 27:
In order to pay off their debts and meet the cost of living, many British students are selling their bodies for sex, a significant survey claims.
According to researchers from Wales-based Swansea University, one in 20 students had worked in the sex industry while studying for a degree, Mirror.co.uk reported.
“We now have firm evidence that students are engaged in the sex industry. The majority of these students keep their occupations secret and this is because of social stigma and fears of being judged by family and friends,” lead researcher Tracey Sagar, associate professor of criminology, was quoted as saying.
Men were more likely to be involved than women and the sex work ranged from prostitution and escorting to stripping and internet work, the “Student Sex Work Project” survey involving 6,750 students stated.
Nearly two thirds of them responded that their motivation was to fund a lifestyle.
While 56 percent said it was to pay basic living costs, two in five wanted to reduce debt at the end of their course.
Money was not the only motive.
Three in five thought they would enjoy it, 54 percent students said they were curious and 44 percent cited sexual pleasure as their motivation.
Up to a quarter said they had found it difficult to leave the industry.
“It is vital now that universities arm themselves with knowledge to better understand student sex work issues and that university services are able to support students where support is needed,” Sagar emphasised.
At the moment, students feel so stigmatised that they are reluctant to disclose their occupations to staff and services at universities that could help them, he added.
The survey was funded by the Big Lottery Fund, a non-departmental public body responsible for distributing funds raised by the British National Lottery for “good causes”. IANS