Vulnerability to any crime is subject to a variety of socioeconomic, cultural, and independent factors that place some individuals at higher risk of entering dangerous situations than others. Although financial insecurity is a huge vulnerability for many college students and recent grads, it is not necessarily the only factor in a persons decision to be come a sugar baby.
People from marginalized neighborhoods or populations are more likely to fall victim to enticement toward financial independence and a better life. Led by promises of extravagant dating options and relationships that can provide stability, victims are likely to believe that these relationships offer relief and the possibility of a brighter future.
Oftentimes, friends can also spread the sugar baby trend. Once one person gets into the life, others can be enticed down the same path even more easily. Hearing about sugar babies from a friend makes the process a lot less intimidating, and the more people who join, the faster the trend grows. Websites work hard to facilitate this growth by offering free membership and ‘anonymity’ to those who are just starting out. To reach college students they even offer greater discounts for those with emails ending in .edu.
Becoming a sugar baby is simple, but living with the choice is far more difficult. Seldom do these sugar babies meet their sugar daddies/mammas beforehand. Often, they are taken to a strange home, greeted by a middle-aged man or woman and then required to perform sexual acts with them. They risk their safety and their lives every time they enter a new person’s home.
People frequently ask why a person would choose to enter an exploitative situation despite evident red flags. But what is more important to ask is: Can a person leave that situation when they want to? And what help do they need to escape? The inability to find alternative financial assistance and, in some cases, physical or emotional abuse can trap a sugar baby. These issues are the real root of the problem.
If you or someone you know is engaged in commercial sex against their will or is under the age of 18, please contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.