A controversial website hit headlines in early December, claiming to offer students money to cover their University tuition fee, in exchange for sex.

The Sponsor A Scholar website connected students up with ‘Sponsors’ who would pay them up to £15,000 in return for sex. Founder of the website, Mark Lancaster, was named on the 30th November, in a Channel 4 investigation when a female undercover reporter was asked to prove her commitment to Lancaster in a meeting.

Sponsor A Scholar claims to match wealthy business men with young university students. We are unable to find the exact figures of men and girls that have been involved in the scandal, which presents many problems about the spread of STIs, this website alone may have caused. The users are thought to be married business men, therefore increasing the risk of STIs being spread within their relationship, as well as among University Students.

Industry experts believe this is the very tip of the iceberg. With job prospects for graduates looking bleak and unemployment levels soaring, are students turning to the sex industry?

According to new research, in the past year the number of students ‘selling their bodies’ has doubled making University staff increasingly worried. Ron Roberts, Professor at Kingston University said: “Sadly, students are a financially vulnerable and heavily indebted financial sector and have become targets for people with money. The economy of the sex industry is now heavily intertwined with higher education economy.”

If you are worried that you may have an STD, Better2Know can help: our service is completely confidential with all results back within 5 days.

This guest post was written by  Jessica Delaney a communication student at Sheffield Hallam University.

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