Participation in sex work: students’ views

Ron Roberts, Teela Sanders, Debbie M Smith, Ellie Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing evidence points to student involvement in the sex industry. The current study comprised a cross-sectional sample of 315 undergraduates at a London university. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, data were gathered on students' financial and employment circumstances and their views on participation in sex work. Results suggested awareness of student sex work was widespread, and considered understandable by the majority. Students principally attributed participation in the sex industry to their financial situation. A relatively high proportion (16.5%) indicated that they would be willing to engage in sex work to pay for their education, with 11% indicating they would work as escorts. A model of willingness to undertake sex work was able to explain over one-quarter of the variance. These findings are explained in relation to the mainstreaming of sexual consumption, the supply routes of sexual labour from privileged socio-economic positions and the effects of student debt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145–156
JournalSex Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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