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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sex for tuition? A shocking number of local college students are doing it.
The profiles on the website, seekingarrangement.com include, "Wealthy Dr. Seeks Group Activity" and "Amazing Offer for a Sweet Beauty."
"We specialize in what we call mutually beneficial relationships," says website spokesperson, Leroy Valasquez.
He says a "sugar daddy" pays a "sugar baby" for her companionship. But "Marissa" tells us most of the men are expecting much more for their money. "Marissa" says most sugar daddies just want to have sex. "Absolutely, I'm going to tell you at least 80 percent of them do," she says.
Marissa is 21, a single mother, a college student in Bloomington, Indiana, and a sugar baby. "The reason that I'm on the website is because I need financial help because it's kind of hard to do a job, be a full time mom and a full time student," she says.
Marissa's only been on the website for a few months, but has already made $5,000. Her current sugar daddy promised her a new car for her birthday. "A guy is a guy, guys want sex, why not have somebody help you out and then you help them?" she asks.
Marissa says she and a sugar daddy usually discuss payment before they meet. "They give you money, usually it's an advance. They'll give you money, we'll hang out, it happens, and then it goes from there," she says.
But Marissa insists what she's doing is perfectly legal and it isn't prostitution: "You could go out and have sex with anybody and they're going to treat you like crap anyways. They're going to 'hit it and quit it' and then they're gone and what did you get out of it? Heartbreak."
Valasquez says the relationships are based on more than just sex. "Prostitution is an exchange of sex for money. In the case of a sugar relationship there must be chemistry, so sugar is a relationship not a one-time transaction," he says.
LMPD Sergeant Andre Bottoms, however, disagrees. "What makes it illegal is they're still getting paid for sex whether they go to dinner or a club or any other activity," says Bottoms.
But police can do little about it. "It is out of control…until there's an exchange of money for a sex act it's not illegal," says Bottoms.
A person charged with prostitution usually doesn't go to jail and only has to pay a fine around $200. "It's just like getting a speeding ticket. You get your ticket, go to your court date, pay your fine and be on your merry way. It's very frustrating but we can only do what the law says," says Bottoms.
We found a Saudi Arabian sugar daddy on the site seeking a travel partner. He says he's willing to pay $20,000 a month. Sgt. Bottoms says that could be a red flag for human trafficking: "Next thing you know you're in some foreign country and you're being forced to provide services," he says.
Although Marissa insists she is not a prostitute, she does admit she has a moral conflict about what she's doing. "I know that it's not right. It says in the Bible it's not right to sell yourself for money. In times like what I'm going through right now, I think it's the exception and I'll deal with it when it's my time," she says.
But Marissa and other girls and guys like her continue to sign up. For every one sugar daddy there are 12 sugar babies on the website. "I'm doing it for one purpose only to take care of my son and get through college," she says.
Indiana University is ninth on the list of schools with the most number of students signed up on the website. The University of Kentucky is 38th. Marissa says since she became a sugar baby, four of her friends have signed up.