Posts on Craigslist’s talent section often leave little to the imagination, offering quick and easy work for young women with a big cash payout. One ad looking for porn actresses even goes so far as to offer women a bonus if they can provide a valid college ID, indicating the demand for young women in porn is high.
College students, who often struggle to balance classes and work while maintaining their sanity, are the No. 1 targets of the sex industry. SeekingArrangement, a match-making site dedicated to pairing older, affluent people—usually men called “sugar daddies”—with young women and men, even has a special designation on its website for college students, offering free premium accounts if they can prove they are students.
Sex work has become a less stigmatized and more viable path in recent years, and I in no way disagree with the sex-positivity movement. However, I condemn the sex industry’s targeting of unaware and vulnerable people to profit off of their bodies and then toss them aside. The sex industry promises lucrative payments that hardly ever work out, with average careers spanning 6–18 months, according to adult film star Kayden Kross in a 2013 interview with LiveScience.com.
The 2015 documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” examines young, “girl-next-door” porn actresses who were lured into the industry by ads like the ones I have mentioned, following their ascent into porn stardom. This rarely happens, and it is even seen that most of the money made from acting must be put back into the industry to pay for new lingerie and frequent STD tests. Every girl interviewed said their families found out about their sex work, and one “pimp” admitted there was no way for someone to work in porn without people in their lives finding out.
Money is the main reason college students turn to sex work, and rarely does one ever make enough to justify the other negative factors associated with working in the industry. Even strippers must pay a fee to dance at certain clubs and sometimes do not make enough to cover that cost.
There are other obvious dangers one must consider before going into sex work. A Nov. 6 article by Lea Grover on the Cosmopolitan website titled “The Worst Thing About Being a Phone Sex Operator” shares Grover’s story of working in phone sex during college and being emotionally drained from the job. She claims it was fun at first, but the clients never saw her as a real person, which ultimately led to her quitting the job. A 2011 Huffington Post article by Amanda Fairbanks interviews women with sugar daddies, most of whom live in guilt because of their arrangements, and some of whom live in fear of what would happen if they met a man who hurt them for not fulfilling their duties.
Sex work is a legitimate job choice for those who have fully considered both the consequences and benefits. However, if it is seen as just a way to make quick and easy money, stay away from the industry and get a more stable job before you do something you regret.