Sunday, 2 Oct 2022

Army wives ‘living in poverty’ turn to sex work because of cost-of-living crisis

"Struggling" army wives are becoming escorts while others are selling explicit pictures online to drum up extra income in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, an investigation has revealed.

Speaking to the Sunday People, young mums described using foodbanks and the general "desperation" of their husbands' meagre wages not stretching far enough – with fuel, food and electricity prices soaring.

One 25-year-old mum of two told how she worked as a part-time escort after losing her cafe job, even describing her situation as "poverty".

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She said: “I started out of desperation. My husband earns around £28,000 but with the cost of living going up almost daily we really began to struggle. I would say we were living in poverty.

“I was having to go to a foodbank to feed the family.

“At the end of the month there was never any money left and we were getting deeper into debt.

“Someone in our garrison would lend money at huge interest. The stress was huge, I thought we might split.”

The woman, who is married to a lance corporal and lives in an Army house in the South West, is backed by her husband, although he was initially shocked.

She added: “He knows it’s not about sex for me so there’s no jealousy. We set out some basic ground rules. He often drives me to see a client. I tell the client my husband is in a car and so far I haven’t had any problems. I charge about £150 an hour and can make up to £1,000 a week cash.”

Another soldier’s wife contacted a Facebook group called Armed Forces Wags to ask for advice about stripping off on subscription service Only Fans.

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She wrote: “Only Fans seems like a good way to get extra money in without making too much of an effort.”

The woman said her husband supported the idea “but doesn’t know how he would feel if I had subscribers from the camp that we live on or with his colleagues”.

Another woman ­posting explicit pictures on the site, where members pay a monthly fee, had over 60 comments offering advice – with some saying they were ­considering doing the same.

Armed forces charities have warned that increasing numbers of military families face food poverty.

Ex-intelligence officer Colonel Philip Ingram said: “It doesn’t surprise me at all that there is an increase in spouses turning to sex work. Junior soldiers are not well paid. Spouses as sex workers can only be bad for morale.

“The Army needs to do much more for families, especially when they expect them to live in isolated locations, with inconsistent support.”

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