The amount of students turning to sex work has risen noticeably with the research suggesting that adequate flexible work for students is limited.

Additionally, the UK is the 5th most expensive place to be studying so it comes as no surprise that students are looking for more adaptable jobs to maintain a healthy work/life balance whilst also earning money.

Despite sex work being a highly stigmatised industry, some universities have created and released protective policies to actively support their students who identify as sex workers or are involved in adult work. 

Initiating this movement, The University of Leicester publicly launched a Student Sex Worker Policy & Toolkit stating their firm commitment to sustaining an inclusive learning, working and research environment for all students, including students earning money or other commodities through sex work.

Read The University of Leicester’s policy here

Professor Teela Sanders, who designed the toolkit, says that the most important aspect moving forward is that staff are more educated and have a better understanding of the experiences of sex workers, in order to support their students.

Sanders also pointed out the inevitability of sex work as an option for students and though she doesn’t necessarily encourage it as a course of action, she is focussed giving the right support to those that have made the choice to do adult work.

I was either broke or working, instead of doing uni work

latiesha Jones – student sex worker

Following in Leicester’s footsteps, many other UK universities are declaring their support for student sex workers including but not limited to: Newcastle, Sussex, Goldsmiths, Manchester and UCL

Latiesha Jones, 21, a second year student from Manchester, became an OnlyFans content creator in 2020 after she spent the majority of her first year either “broke” or “working instead of doing uni work”.

Now she is in the top 1.3% of OnlyFans creators worldwide, has created her own guide on how to run a successful OnlyFans and has helped pay relatives out of debt all whilst studying for her degree.

She says this is all possible because the online sex industry can be made flexible around her life, unlike many other part-time jobs.

She says there are a number of benefits of being a sex worker to earn money whilst studying that regular part time jobs simply don’t offer.

According to Laura Rawlings, Founder and CEO of Youth Employment UK (YEUK), young people are two and a half times more likely to work in ‘at risk sectors’ such as hospitality and retail, which have been worst impacted by previous lockdowns.
This means that students have been unable to fall back on the usually failsafe option of picking up waitressing or sales assistant shifts.
If, like Latiesha, others are looking at less conventional ways of earning money along side their studies and given the number of students currently involved in sex work, some believe that universities should be adequately equipped to support their students and understand the issues they might experience.
  • The number of student sex workers doubled between 2017 at 2% and 2019 at 4%
  • These figures follow a rise in average student living costs from £770 a month in 2018 to £804 a month in 2019