Reporting Dana Kozlov
(CBS) — Strapped for cash, some women are turning to “sugar daddies” for financial aid and becoming “sugar babies.”
For some, it sounds like prostitution, but is it? Incredible, but there are several websites out there helping babies and daddies find each other.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov takes a look at one of them.
The so-called “sugar daddies” are willing to pay.
“I have disposable income,” Joe Fazio explains. “And I want your companionship. Financially, you’re in a situation where you want more.”
The online site Seeking Arrangement is a way for the two to meet. The goal: a “mutually beneficial relationship” in which money and gifts are given to a “sugar baby” in exchange for companionship.
Jessica — not her real name — is a 21-year-old college senior from Chicago’s suburbs. She says the physical side of the arrangement isn’t discussed at first but comes, later.
“It boosts up the price. It always gets you more money,” she says.
Asked if that could be considered prostitution, she replies: “I call it a beneficial relationship.”
According to the website’s founder, Brandon Wade, Jessica is just one of a growing number of co-eds using the site to help pay college tuition and expenses.
“In the Chicago area in general we are seeing roughly a 46 percent growth in the number of students signing up from the year before,” he says.
Take the University of Illinois-Chicago. Wade says 99 students are now sugar baby candidates compared to 47 a year ago.
Jessica isn’t surprised.
“These men on there are willing to compensate for the amount of work you’re willing to put in for this relationship,” she says.
Wade says his website draws the line.
“We’ve drawn a very clear line by saying that if you’re paying simply for sex that is not clearly permitted,” he says.
A CBS 2 producer registered and almost immediately got 21 different sugar baby inquiries, some with explicit photographs and sexually charged messages.
“This is thinly veiled. There’s no question this site is thinly veiled,” Harold Krent, dean of the Kent College of Law.
He says, however, even with the promise of financial gain it’s not against the law.
“If one subscribes to a site so that one can meet somebody and after meeting with somebody decide what happens next, then of course it’s not prostitution,” he says.
Fazio is not Jessica’s sugar daddy. They don’t know each other.
Jessica has had three sugar daddies and says she has made anywhere from $500 a month to as much as $5,000. Besides gifts and trips, she uses the money she gets for living expenses while in college. She graduates this year.