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Researchers in south Wales have found more students are turning to sex work to help pay their way through university.
It’s thought around 100,000 could be working in the sex industry because they’re struggling to keep up with rent payments and pay for food.
Around half keep it a secret from friends and family, with the same amount saying they’ve had to deal with some unpleasant customers.
Rosie Inman, NUS Wales Women’s Officer, says too many young people are living below the breadline:
“When we talk about sex work we don’t just mean what you might expect as in prostitution.
“There’s also many other forms like stripping, being a phone sex operator and even a ‘Butler in the Buff’.
“When you’re paying £300 or more in rent a month it all stacks up.
“Your course fees, paying for books, materials...it’s completely understandable to see why so many students are going into something that pays more than the minimum wage.”
NUS Wales says it hopes that the higher education sector and its partners can now offer more support to student sex workers, with student wellbeing the top priority.
The Student Sex Work Project, which is the largest study on student attitudes to participation in the sex industry, says non-judgemental support is now vital.