More and More Canadians are Prostituting Themselves to Attend University Classes
The overburdened students of Canada are turning to prostitution to pay for their schools fees in a growing number. The Las-Vegas-based website SeekingArrangement.com said it promises to hook-up wealthy men — or sugar daddies — with younger women known as sugar babies… and it would appear that hypersexualized Canadian female students love it. The founder of a dating website that connects men and women looking for “mutually beneficial relationships” says more and more Canadian university students are looking for what he calls “a sugar daddy.”  Brandon Wade of SeekingArrangement.com defines a sugar daddy as a man who has the financial means to “spoil and pamper” a female.  The website said that university students account for 42 per cent of its overall membership.  “Tuition rates have gone up … much faster than the rate of inflation or the cost of living adjustments,” said Wade.  He added that the allure of finding a wealthy and successful partner is magnified by reality TV. “You see programs like the `Millionaire Matchmaker’ or `The Bachelor’ or the `Housewives of Orange County.’ “ He said some of his sugar daddies are multi-billionaires while others make less than six figures. He said on average, the amount of money a student receives from their sugar daddy is $3,000 per month.  “The money could go to college tuition, it could go to paying rent or it could just be used for travelling or buying gifts and shopping,” said Wade. Each relationship is different. Some end after university is done, while others result in marriage, said Wade. 
Leroy Velasquez, a press representative for SeekingArrangement.com, was interviewed by the student newspaper The Mc Gill Tribune. When asked what exactly SeekingArrangement.com is, Velasquez simply responded: it is “the world’s largest sugar daddy dating website.”  The website has 2.7 million members worldwide. Velasquez said more than 425,000 Canadians are registered and out of those, more than 129,000 are university students.  “[It] essentially pairs generous benefactors with attractive members, and they engage in what we call “mutually beneficial relationships. Whether it be friendship, companionship, or something more romantic, the benefactor takes care of that person, offers them a monthly allowance, and pays for all of their expenses.” 
No doubts that there is a lot of people that will have a hard time to tell the difference between “sex for tuition” and “prostitution.” Critics of the website accuse it of being similar to an escort service, but legally speaking, as long as a sugar daddy is paying for a service other than sex, say friendship or companionship, the transaction is perfectly legal. According to the website, any physical relationship that may occur, is beyond the scope of that arrangement. Talking to the reporter from Global News, another SeekingArrangement.com spokeperson, Brook Urick insists that their website has nothing to do with prostitution and that it’s simply the future of dating. “Prostitution is illegal and it’s clearly stated on our site in our terms that we don’t allow escorts on our site,” she said.  Brook Urick, argued that “it’s a dating site just like any other,” adding that “You come to the site, you make a profile, you list what you’re looking for.”  Just the regular thing. “The only difference here is the women and men know exactly what they’re looking for,” she said. 
The Province of Quebec Scores Very High in the Ranking
The website even offers a promotion encouraging sugar babies to register with their university email account, which has enabled them to gather data on which universities boast the most sugar babies.  According to SeekingArrangement.com, there are many students who are looking for is someone to help pay off their university loans in the french canadian province of Quebec. In Quebec overall, there were 322 new sign ups in the same year.  And many of those students live in Montreal. McGill University ranked second on the sites list of top 20 fastest growing sugar baby schools. In Montreal, there was a total of 417 students from McGill University registered on the site; 161 of them signing up in 2014.  UQAM occupy the 7th rank.  In the Quebec area, Université Laval is currently at the 17th rank.  A chart from the SeekingArrangement.com website revealed the fastest growing sugar baby schools of 2015:
Universities across Canada ranked by the number of new sign ups to SeekingArrangement.com in 2014:
A lot of young people were enticed by the average $3,000 monthly allowance, as well as the opportunity the website offered to young women to mingle with wealthy benefactors.  The women receive negotiated allowances that range widely but can hit more than $10,000 a month. In Canada, the average monthly allowance is $2,615. However, when you hit a major market like Toronto, that number jumps to $4,898. In Manitoba, a sugar baby pulls in an average of $1,425 a month.  “The guys are wealthy, they’re generous. They’re the Christian Grey types.” Urick told Global News.
The sugar babies on the site are able to live a fantasy, they are able to meet men they would never be able to meet otherwise. 
However, dating expert Frank Kermit told Global News that this fantasy is hard to sustain. “They start off by talking about how wonderful it was, because they got everything they wanted,” he said. “Or so they thought.”  Some of his clients are former sugar babies and sugar daddies trying to get back on the traditional dating scene. “For the sugar babies, they become accustomed to a certain lifestyle, they become accustomed to not having to work so hard in other areas of their life,” Kermit explained. 
The sugar daddies become dull in spotting social cues because the outcome is guaranteed for them, they’re just paying for it. 
Global News met with a 24-year-old who claims to be a sugar baby. ‘Isabelle’ would not reveal her real name and Global News could not verify any of what she told us. She said she’s a student at Université de Montréal and she was recently having trouble making ends meet.  She turned to SeekingArrangement.com looking for help. “It’s a way to go to school and not stress too much and focus on my studies,” she explained. “I don’t have to work 20 hours, so that’s the reason.” Her 45-year-old benefactor has been supporting her financially for the past five months. “He’s paying for the place where I live, and if I need things like a laptop for school, he will buy me one.”  Isabelle claims they see each other twice a month and have not had sex, yet. “I really thought I would but I don’t know, he just wants to take his time and doesn’t want to make it feel like it’s an arrangement.” 
Isabelle’s situation may just be an exception. Dating expert Frank Kermit has met with a number clients who used to be sugar babies and sugar daddies. He told Global News “the majority of people who get involved in this want sex and that’s what it comes down to.” He doesn’t consider the arrangement very different from prostitution. “There’s still expectations, there’s still an exchange but it’s considered a little bit easier on people’s souls to get involved in this manner.” 
According to McGill ethics professor Margaret Somerville, arrangements that trade company for cash, devalue our real human connections. “It’s a terrible loss for individuals and it’s a terrible loss for society,”  Somerville said. “I’m really hopeful that the younger generation will re-think this and come back with a different approach to it.” 
The Trend is Exploding on the West Coast
The University of Victoria is one of the fastest-growing college markets in Canada according to SeekingArrangement.com.  UVic had the sixth-highest number of sign-ups to the website of any campus in Canada last year, with 117 new users in 2012. The University of B.C. was 12th, with 60 sign-ups and Simon Fraser University 15th, with 52. “The population of college sugar babies in British Columbia has steadily increased every year, with University of Victoria leading all major universities,” SeekingArrangement.com CEO Brandon Wade said in a news release.  “It’s difficult to take out student loans when you aren’t sure when, or if, you will be able to pay them back. By seeking a mutually beneficial relationship while attending college, students will be more likely to find success later in life.” 
UVic student society spokeswoman Lucia Orser said she wasn’t aware of the trend, but called it a predictable result of the high tuition fees and student debt levels in B.C. “I think this speaks to the particular burden women are facing in British Columbia to pay off their post-secondary education, both throughout that education but also after.”  Anisa Mottahed, manager of the UBC student society’s sexual assault support centre, said the phenomenon is concerning, especially if students feel high tuition fees and living costs leave them no alternative but to seek financial relief from an older, wealthier man.  A UVic spokeswoman said the university has no way of knowing whether the people identifying themselves as UVic students are in fact students there. “Regardless, student debt is a concern for many students which is why UVic offers significant student scholarships, bursaries, co-op and work-study programs in order to make post-secondary education as accessible and affordable as possible,” said Denise Helm, manager of media relations and public affairs. 
The Trend is Exploding in the Maritime Provinces
Several Maritime universities also have the dubious distinction of being the fastest growing “sugar baby” schools in Canada.  A ranking was released by seekingarrangement.com which lists Dalhousie University as the 11th fastest growing “sugar baby” university.  Eighty-two students joined in the last year, bringing the total number of Dalhousie students registered on the website to 140. The University of New Brunswick ranks 19th on the list, with 49 new students this year, and St. Thomas University sits at 20 with 48 new students joining. 
Here is the full list:
Leroy Velasquez, public relations manager for seekingarrangement.com, tells Global News that the website collects numbers based on the university email address of the students signing up. He said the typical member is between 19 and 26 years old. “Rather than getting a minimum wage job and distract themselves from their studies, a lot of these students are engaging in relationships with these sugar daddies,” Velasquez said.  He adds that students generally receive approximately $3,000 a month from benefactors. “Why graduate with an average debt of $37,000 before you even get a job when you can get a sugar daddy and get $3,000 a month and pay off your debt and graduate debt free?” 
Alexis Stevenson is a fourth year computer science student at Dalhousie University. She is not registered as a member on seekingarrangement.com. She estimates she is $24,000 in debt and still has another year to go. “I work four jobs. I have my own apartment. I pay for all my tuition through my student loans,” she said. Stevenson calls the website “sketchy”, saying it might lead to unsavoury situations. “Going online, meeting a stranger, asking them to pay off probably a really significant debt sets you up for a lot of obligation I’m not sure I would be comfortable with,” she said. However, while she plans to pay off her debt herself, Stevenson said she can relate the mindset of the women who do sign up. “Now that I’m four years in, I’m a lot in debt. I can understand why some girls would be thinking ‘Oh my goodness, maybe someone else can do this for me and pay this off’,” she said.
The Dalhousie Student Union said the university’s ranking is not surprising. “Dalhousie has some of the highest tuition in the country. I think it’s just another example of students doing whatever it takes to pay for their education,” spokesperson Aaron Beale said. The union has been fighting for lower tuition for several years and Beale said the government and universities need to work together to make post-secondary education more affordable for students. News of the rankings caught some students at Nova Scotia’s largest university and at St. Thomas University off-guard. “A lot of people are in student debt. A lot of people need extra funds and things like that. Women are seeking out to find that fund and they’re finding it through that website. It’s an easy way to get cash,” said Dalhousie second year student Brenna O’Leary. “I was shocked honestly. I guess I knew things like that could happen but I didn’t think that St. Thomas University would be up on the list,” said Gina Gedebs.