The Huffington Post has profiled a few female college students it describes as "using 'sugar daddies' to pay off loan debt." The girls, who call themselves sugar babies, are saddled with tuition and other bills; the men are much older and wealthy. They go on dates and have sex, and money changes hands.
The sweet names make it sound harmless, but it seems to us the article could have a more accurate headline: "Young women Are Becoming Prostitutes Specifically to Pay for Education."
Among those featured in the piece is Taylor, a 22-year-old student at Hunter College with a "mane of caramel-colored hair" who "grew up black and poor in the South Bronx" and is looking for an "arrangement in the range of $1,000 to $3,000 a month" to help with college expenses.
She wouldn't come out and say it, but another "sugar baby" profiled in the article did: "If this isn't what prostitution is called, I don't know what it is," she said. And one expert told HuffPost, "These college women didn't see themselves as sex workers, but women doing straight-up prostitution often don't see themselves that way either."
The Huffington Post reports that outside the U.S., a handful of scholars in the United Kingdom recently examined shifting patterns of sexual behavior among college students tied to rising amounts of debt. They fear that as college costs continue to rise, more students will pursue sex work. (On that note, check out ColorLines' take on how the debt deal could mean cuts in aid to poor college students.) Aside from making education affordable, the first step toward addressing this phenomenon is probably calling it what it is.
Read more at the Huffington Post.
In other news: VIDEO: Check Out New Tuskegee Airmen Film.