Cash-strapped students, housewives and workers who have lost all or part of their income due to COVID are flogging nude selfies and sex videos online to make ends meet.

Business is booming on subscription sites like Pornhub, commonly described as the YouTube of porn and OnlyFans, which also lets users charge for access to personal videos and photos.

It can be a lucrative side hustle.

On its website OnlyFans estimates users can earn between $1499 and $7495 a month.

The reality might be much less. The Sunday Mail understands some students are bringing in between $200 and $300 a month from strangers willing to pay to see them naked or in a sex video.

Others are earning as little as $20.

Australia's eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant warns the photos and videos can end up being shared by subscribers who take screenshots or screen recordings and pass them onto family and friends; or worse end up on free pornography websites

The commission has seen a massive increase in image based abuse - where an intimate image or video of someone is shared online without their consent.

"We have seen a particular increase in this form of online harm during COVID this year, with a 172 per cent increase in reports coming to eSafety from the months of March to September when compared to the same period in 2019,' the commissioner said.

"Some of this increase was down to a well-known sextortion scam that saw its peak during the Easter holiday weekend, however, we have seen a sustained volume of complaints from Australians who are experiencing other, more serious forms of sextortion."

She said sharing explicit photos and videos was risky.

"As people fall on economic hard times, they may turn to new sources of income like subscription services to monetise their intimate images.

"It's really important to consider the risks. You may be getting much more distribution than you ever asked for, compounding one's hardship and stress."

She said one in 10 Australians had suffered image-based abuse.

"But, image based abuse disproportionately harms women - especially younger women from the ages of 18-25 where the incidence is one in five. It is an extraordinary violation of privacy and can be deeply humiliating to victims."

Earlier this month Pornhub was forced to remove millions of explicit videos uploaded from unverified users as part of a series of changes following allegations that the site showed videos of child abuse and nonconsensual sexual behaviour.

And earlier this year, a leak on OnlyFans saw thousands of videos, including the names of their creators) ended up on free pornography sites.

 

 

Originally published as Nude selfies, sex videos: Ordinary Qlders selling online porn



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