An undercover journalist has been left stunned by her discovery that British women can earn up to £3,000 every week from wealthy benefactors by working as a sugar baby.
In Secrets of Sugar Baby Dating, a BBC documentary airing tonight, Tiffany Sweeney, 28, from London, meets with ‘sugar babies’ from the UK and America who are paid to date older men for money.
She meets up with Valentina and is shocked to discover she can earn up to £3,000 a week from just one of her sugar daddies.
And later, Tiffany, is horrified to hear of one woman in America, Chandler, 26, from New York, who says she was scammed out of $2,600 after she had threesome with a man who never paid her.
Tiffany Sweeney (pictured), 28, from London, investigates the popularity of sugar dating in the UK and US in BBC documentary, Secrets of Sugar Baby Dating
US-based Chandler, 26, (pictured right on the show with Tiffany) was scammed by a sugar daddy earlier this year, after agreeing to a threesome for around $2,600
A sugar baby is the name of younger women whose lavish lifestyles are paid for by rich, older men.
Valentina admits she loves that the work supports her lavish lifestyle and knows what is expected of her in order to earn the wage.
She explained:’I can’t find a level with the boys my age, all they want to do is sit at home and play FIFA.’
‘These men don’t want women who will come to them and grumble about their problems and the stresses of their life.’
Valentina suggests the average sugar baby in the UK can earn up to £3,000 a week and says she ‘maintains a relationship with these men’
And in one particularly shocking moment, Valentina reveals she often dresses up as a school girl for her sugar daddies.
She explained:’They want youthfulness injected back into their lives.’
And she refutes that it’s sex work, saying:’I maintain a relationship with these men.’
Throughout the episode the presenter Tiffany interacts with a number of sugar babies, including US-based Chandler, 26, who had a threesome with a man known as Imran Khan.
The former sugar baby revealed she agreed to the arrangement with Imran as she was desperate for money to pay for her rent and he promised she could earn around $2,600.
Chandler (pictured) revealed she was desperate for rent money and believed having sex for cash, although illegal in the US, was a quicker way of earning than working for two weeks in New York
She says the 36-year-old graduate student at New York University Centre, who portrayed himself as an investment banker named Ron, used PayPal to scam her out of paying for the arrangement.
Speaking about the months leading up to the scam, she said: ‘I did everything you do when you have no money, you don’t eat, just $1 pizza, you do what you can. If you want to have a good life in New York you have to have a side hustle and so I discovered sugar dating and it was easy.
She went on: ‘You just go on a site meet a guy and he starts talking to you and offering money. At first I thought you could just go on a date. There was one guy he gave me like $200 but if you want to make more money, you’re going to have to sleep with them.
‘When you got the cash it’s this exhilarating feeling, you’ve got all this money in and your hand and you’ve just had sex for 20 minutes. I make that amount of money in two weeks in New York, so it’s like for 20 minutes, why am I not going to do this again?
Chandler says she was swept up by how easy it was to make money as a sugar baby, and ended up being scammed out of thousands of dollars
She continued: ‘When I got really desperate for rent I tried it again, in March. We were getting ready in the cab doing our makeup as we were heading towards him, we were a little crunched for time.’
The sugar daddy told Chandler what to wear as well as how to do her makeup and hair.
After convincing her to make the hotel booking, Imran asked Chandler to confirm the details by sending a screen shot.
She explained: ‘So we go to the hotel and he’s sitting in the lobby, he doesn’t look like his picture.
She said she’d be haunted by the experience forever, and had been left devastated by what she had done
‘We go up to the room and he’s like get out your phone and I’ll pay you. He’s like you’re going to request whatever like $2,500 or $2,600.’
She continued:’He goes to request it and says OK, everything’s all set, take off your clothes. The act happened and he seemed really into power dynamics, he wanted you to be super submissive and super thankful of him giving you all of his money. He took turns with us and had us all to himself and just did what he wanted.
‘We like felt good after because we were like ‘oh its over, we just made 12000 dollars, this is great’ and then on the subway ride home I’m looking at my account and I don’t see the money.
‘When are you going to accept the request, because he didn’t actually like accept it. And then it was silent, like he’s not going to give me this money.
Chandler couldn’t believe that she had been scammed out of money after having sex with a sugar daddy
Chandler couldn’t believe what had happened, saying: ‘My heart dropped, it just sunk in my chest. Like oh my God now, I’m actually in debt, now I can’t pay my rent.’
Tiffany whose highest payment offer while undercover was £250, believes situations like Chandler’s aren’t uncommon.
In her experience she says it felt like the Sugar Daddies had figured out a ‘code’ to get around the rules of the sugar dating websites.
‘The terminology that the guys would use, there was lots of reference to being a pleaser and asking if you’re into older men. I was like I’m eighteen,’ she said.
Tiffany revealed that most sugar dating websites don’t require age verification for standard members and that it’s possible to make contact without having a profile photo
Tiffany (pictured) advises university students to speak to someone they can trust before getting involved in sugar dating, an estimated half a million UK students are sugar dating
The 28-year-old believes because society can be judgmental, many parents would assume that their child can’t be caught up in sugar dating
‘I felt uncomfortable from the get go, I felt like I was the weak one in the conversation. They were really powerful saying we can be discreet and be intimate. They were very clever with their wording and I was just like wow. It was like a code.
‘They had learned a way to get around this website and the people who’ve been blocked have found ways around it.
‘I imagine when it first started back in the day, people would’ve been a lot more explicit but I feel like overtime the website has tried to clamp down and put these terms and conditions in place. But with everything there’s way around it.’
The sugar dating websites which don’t require age verification for standard members count no escorting or human trafficking among their list of rules.
FEMAIL SPOKE TO JOURNALIST TIFFANY
The journalist (pictured) believes she was lucky to not have been attacked by Jim after refusing to have sex, but questions if real sugar babies are always that lucky
As well as meeting women who are sugar babies Tiffany Sweeney goes undercover as a sugar baby herself and meets Jim who offers to pay her for sex.
Speaking to FEMAIL about meeting Jim, Tiffany explains: ‘He wouldn’t even send me a picture of himself, I had no idea of what he looked like.
‘It was all discreet and even when we got to the bar he was like let’s go outside. He wouldn’t tell me what he does for work or speak about his family situation. He could’ve been a criminal or anything, I had no idea.
‘It was the most terrifying situation to not know who you’re going to meet and that’s happening to many girls. He didn’t even have a picture on his profile.
‘Atleast Facebook, Tinder, Bumble – you need a picture of yourself so people can see what you look like and verify what you look like.
‘To be on a sugar dating website and not even have a picture, that is a whole other level. Sugar dating is based around the fact that it’s rich men with young beautiful girls.
‘Surely they want to see what the women look like and the girls want to see what the boys look like.
‘It’s all superficial. You should be able to know their net worth, you should be able to know what they look like.’
Tiffany who was inspired to investigate sugar dating after learning about it while she was a university student revealed there has been sugar babies who’ve really lived the luxury lifestyle portrayed by the dating sites. However, many were hesitant to speak openly to her about their experiences for the documentary.
‘There was a few that we spoke to in the beginning of our research who said we don’t have sex, were fully in control, we get nice trips but they didn’t want to be on camera,’ she said.
‘It’s really confusing to know what to believe because if you’re getting all of these nice things and you’re getting your debt paid off, why would you not want to talk about it.
‘I think the majority – they just want to tell the good stuff. I remember saying to one of the girls this is amazing, we should all be doing this. Getting lots of money and not having to have sex.
‘When I asked her if you’ve heard any darker stories or do you know anything else, she was like oh yeah I had a friend who had something bad happen to her but she doesn’t want to talk about it.
‘It’s almost like they know that it’s far darker and things are happening but they choose not to focus on it.’
Tiffany’s boyfriend of two years was concerned about her safety when taking part in the documentary, as there has been attacks and even murder cases.
‘It was nerve wrecking even in the night leading up to going undercover, he didn’t realise that I was agreeing to sex for money. He thought I was going to just going to discuss it, I had to say no I have to pretend like I’m going to do it.
‘He was terrified about it and didn’t want me to do it. I had to explain to him you’ve got to think of the bigger picture, I’ve got to show what’s going on. Young people they’re not going to be impacted by me just saying it, they need to visually see what happened. He found it difficult the whole time.
‘Obviously it’s not nice for him to think oh my God my girlfriend is meeting a guy for sex. I just had to remind him and remind myself that is not something I’m doing.
‘I’m doing it so I can understand why guys do this to young girls and why girls meet older guys. It was so uncomfortable. It was cringe, like my dad’s going to watch this and everything like that.’
‘He was more concerned about my safety. You know will he get angry, will he attack me. I was lucky that Jim was understanding but are all sugar daddies in that situation or would they become aggressive?’
She said: ‘It’s easy to get caught up in it. People are so judgmental in society when it comes to things like this that people would think my daughter would never do this but I’ve spoken to a whole range of young students.
‘I spoke to middle class people, everyone assumes it’s like working class and poor students that can’t afford it.
‘There’s middle class people who don’t have the money or don’t get on with their parents and they decide to get involved in it.
‘They want to study to be a doctor or something like that and now one girl I spoke to wants to go into the porn industry, doesn’t even want to use her degree.
‘She was like I don’t want to study anymore, I’ve been a sugar baby and I’m now a prostitute. People have made the cross over from sugar dating into prostitution and thought I can make more money from sex work.
‘One girl I spoke to who wasn’t in the film basically just said she could make more money from doing sex work. It was too much work trying to filter through all the small talk. It was easier to get what I wanted to just do sex work.
‘It was crossing over all the time and then she realised, you know what I’m having sex with the majority of them so I could just manage it myself and go and be a prostitute.’
Tiffany says she met with a support team who couldn’t be included in her piece, that claim they have a filter to flag messages that break their rules including no ‘pay per meet’.
The 28-year-old believes sugar dating could eventually become normalised as it’s an ‘easy’ way of making money and the average sugar baby can make up to £3000 a month.
But she went on: ‘Just because it seems easy now, doesn’t mean it’s not going to affect you. I think people are putting themselves in really risky situations. If you’re desperate try and find another way, try and speak to someone.
‘I know it’s not ideal to work jobs and things like that but try and find out from other friends or think twice about going to uni maybe. You don’t have to go to uni just because everyone’s doing it.
‘Don’t put yourself in debt and stressful situations just for the degree because you don’t want to end up in a situation like that.’
Secrets of Sugar Baby Dating airs on BBC1 at 10:30pm tonight and will be available on iPlayer