The Student Sex Work Project (TSSWP) is a three-year project led by Terrence Higgins (Swansea University), the University of South Wales, the National Union of Students Cymru and Cardiff, and Vale University Health Board.
The goal of TSSWP was to gather knowledge and understanding of student sex workers across the UK and Wales. An unintentional outcome of the project was providing information and support to students involved in the project.
McIntyre’s VICE article took it a bit further with detailed interviews of three separate sex workers paying their way through college, two females and one male student.
On the subject of internships, “Abigail” says, “I don’t have a family who could support me, so I’m not privileged enough to work for free.”
Two of the three students mention their family’s inability to support them financially as an underlying reason for going into the profession.
Although their stories seem bleak, none of the students interviewed seem entirely ashamed of what they do. It appears that their decisions to go into the controversial field was one of necessity. One girl goes so far as to describe her decision to go into sex work as, “ruthlessly pragmatic.”
“Claire” says, “Sex work among students is much more common than people think, and is likely to increase as long as fees, rent, and the cost of living is so high.”