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Phone Sex Moms: In Tough Economic Times, More Mothers Turn To Sex Work

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From baby talk ... to dirty talk? Although it might not seem like an obvious career choice, an increasing number of young moms are turning to the phone sex industry for employment.

ABC News reported that over the last year and a half, as the recession has continued to take a toll on employment opportunities, the number of women who have young children engaging in sex work has risen 400 percent. This figure comes from ratracerebellion.com, an organization dedicated to finding mothers at-home work. The numbers seem a bit shocking, but then again, hasn't sex work always been considered a "recession-proof" occupation?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of November 2011 about 8.3 percent of women in the United States were unemployed, a number that has doubled since the recession hit in 2008. And desperate times lead to desperate measures. Parents, especially, can't afford to just scrape by -- they have more mouths to feed than their own.

Chris Durst, head of Ratracerebellion.com, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that many moms who reach out to her for help procuring phone sex work feel that their choice of employment is a necessity:

Most sound a little embarrassed ... They say, "I've tried everything. It's come to the point my family is on food stamps. We can't make the rent and are facing foreclosure. This is the fastest way for me to get my family back on my feet again."

Putting the stigma of sex work aside, being a "phone actress" allows moms to work flexible hours, save on childcare, spend time with their children and still make enough money to put food on the table. ABC News reported that most of these women are paid between $10 and $50 per hour, although it's possible to make much more. While the phone sex industry probably reached its peak during the '90s, 1-900 number era, Slate reported that the practice still manages to generate between $750 million and $1 billion a year.

Though it may seem surprising, not all of the women pursuing this "intimate talk" work are single. Some are married and have the full support of their partners. The husband of one of the women interviewed by ABC News said that economic incentives trump his other concerns:

That she has the ability to bring in a little extra each month and sometimes a lot extra each month and be able to not have to worry about how and where we're going to get food or if the electric bills are going to be shut off, that's a big deal ... That overrides any sort of other worries I might have.

Some parents interviewed by ABC News felt uncomfortable about the idea of other parents working in the sex industry. "I don't know that I would want to promote that to my children," said one mother. "[That job] is probably not the most appropriate," another told ABC News.

However, others seem to have a "do what you need to do" attitude. As The Stir's Nicole Fabian-Weber put it:

Not having to worry about money for your family is a big deal. A much bigger deal than talking dirty to some pervert in Omaha.

What do you think? Are you shocked? Or is phone sex just another career path that women are being pushed into during the recession?

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