Leeds & West Yorkshire

Male university students 'sell sex to pay bills'

Young men are increasingly considering selling their bodies to help them pay for the rising cost of studying at university, a charity claims.

Blast works with sexually exploited men and boys in Bradford and Leeds.

Phil Mitchell, from the charity, said it saw a rise in calls and emails each September from students wanting advice and information about selling sex.

He said: "These guys have got the assumption that it's the quickest, easiest way to make some cash."

Mr Mitchell said the charity had been receiving calls from interested students for some years but the number of calls was increasing and he believed that was down to rises in tuition fees and an increased awareness of the sex industry.

Budget help

He said many of the students who contacted the charity wanted to know how they could sell sex legally, through websites or escorting.

Mr Mitchell said: "I have spoken to a couple of people who have said they don't have any money left to have a life.

"A lot of guys believe quite wrongly that it's fun and it's exciting and it's just a quick and easy way to get some cash."

Mark Sewards, leader of the Leeds University Union, said he had not come across any students selling sex but there had been a large increase in the number of students coming to the union for money advice.

He said: "Our advice centre traditionally deals with a large number of housing issues raised by students but this year we've seen the number of money-related inquires match the housing ones.

"I'd like to emphasise that students with any money problems should seek advice from their institution and their student union first and foremost.

"That way, we're able to help them out before things get out of hand."

Sue Kershaw, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Bradford, said it had measures in place to support all students who may have financial difficulties while studying, and a money adviser who could help students budget.

She added: "The higher student tuition fee is applicable from September 2012 and no undergraduate student will have to pay those fees up front.

"They will not repay anything back until they have graduated and are earning over £21,000."

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