One25 unaware of students in prostitution

The charity are ‘not aware of any students within our client group‘, notes Kate Golten of One25.

This is a stark opposite to the claims of growing prostitution within the student community in the UK as recent media coverage has suggested.

Golten stated that to date she and her colleagues had not experienced students working in the sex industry, although highlighting that One25 would offer help to students working in the sex industry if they were ‘women who were involved in street sex work, or at risk of being involved in street sex work‘.

However, One25 are ‘not aware of what is available to students working in the sex industry as this is not [their] client group‘.

One25, the charity that reaches out to women trapped in sex work, helps to support them as they break away from the industry and ‘step away from the streets‘. Their mission is to help them as they take the brave steps towards rebuilding a life away from the violence, poverty and addiction associated with the sex trade.

The women often make first contact with One25 through meeting us during outreach. Our van goes out 5 nights per week and provides nutritious food, hot drinks and a chance to talk and get advice in a safe space.

The video below gives an insight into how these GSK Impact Awards 2010 winners are earning that title.

These findings suggest that certainly for Bristol the case of students in the sex trade is not as apparent as has been speculated. However, as Golten suggests, One25 do not consider students part of their ‘client group‘, does this mean there is not a high case of student prostitutes or rather that they may not know where to seek help?

Let us know your experiences of such charities. Are there enough routes for students to seek help for working in the sex trade or are such charities not necessarily called for due to the low, or non-existent numbers of student prostitutes? Comment below or email us at investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com.

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‘Student prostitution is caused by Laziness!’

Just as a doctor analyses a patient’s symptoms to try to cure their diseases/s, we so far have taken the same approach by uncovering a number of factors pushing students into prostitution to try to underpin where the problem is coming from. The following is a brief summary of these factors:

(High tuition fee prices, the present economic climate, the law not banning prostitution in the UK, the cost of living being too high, the lack of support for students from the universities, and prostitution being an option to begin with.(a quick fix to long-term problem) – moral degeneration.)

Though the list is very viable and brings up the surface ‘symptoms of this disease’ so to speak, one can’t help but question what the underlying push factors leading students to lease their bodies for money are.

We undoubtedly are presently living in information driven society where information in short, is money. So In essence students are going to universities to get this information (education) because it in turn will give them the money they require to survive. Hence we have students trying to acquire knowledge so they can get money but the information they need to make money costs money and this is where problems like student prostitution arise. Therefore to say student prostitution is caused by one factor like laziness (as pointed out by Student at Birmingham City University) is a misconception, it is a result of the inter-playing of a lot of factors, some of which we have already uncovered.

In an effort to discover the more indirect factors, as a group we made it a point to investigate media and technology to see how they both relate to this student prostitution scenario as they play too major a role in this information era we are living in. Firstly we have the introduction of the internet which has various things that can be said about it with regards to sex and selling it. For example the Internet has more sites to do with sex than education as seen in the following Google search results:

‘Keyword: ‘Sex’- 3,470,000,000 results. Keyword: ‘Education’- 2,860,000,000 results’

This coupled with the influences it has on our lives it is evident that the internet is in itself a push factor. The internet makes it easier for students to sell themselves as it has immense communicative power and is a platform hosting numerous websites that make the transition from student to prostitute really fast and simpler than parading on the streets in search of a sex customer. The internet coupled with technological advancement has introduced what is termed a ‘safer’ mode of prostitution we already talked about, phone sex, which is creating an environment conducive for prostitution.

With the advent of laptops with camera technology and online webcam sex-sites it has increasingly become so much simpler for students to consider prostitution as an option of quick money because they have tools at their disposal to make it happen. The words of Bill Clinton, after being asked why he cheated on his wife in this case illustrate why some students are turning to prostitution,

‘I think I did something for the worst possible reason, just because I could.’

The opportunity for prostitution is in the faces of the students at arms’ reach literally and some students have taken this route.

The media also according to Lucy Sherriff, of the Huffington Post website, (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/29/increase-of-medic-students-working-sex-trade_n_1308790.html) glamorises prostitution to students by showing television shows like ‘The Dairy of a Call Girl’. She claims that this television show is to blame for the rise in numbers of medical student prostitutes because it portrays prostitution as a high-class and very rewarding career path. It is therefore clear that technology and media have a role in this problem which is being caused by many inter-playing factors.

In the forthcoming post we hope to find out more causes and what can and is being done to resolve this issue. Is it really an issue? How do we cut the problem at the roots if there are many causes, can one action take care of the whole problem? Does prostitution have a key cause? Please do let us know you views by commenting below or alternatively emailing us at investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com

By Nigel Chapwanya

Top 5 Virtual Student Hangouts

Top 5 Virtual Student Hangouts

1. The Student Room (TSR) (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk) – A highly established website made for university and school students in UK, which consists of almost 600,000 users and 35 million posts. Not only does The Student Room consist of a flourishing, active forum but it also contains its own wiki. The TSR wiki is a database thriving with a breadth of information on the subject of student life, with everything from finances to night life.

2. Student 365 (http://student365.co.uk) – Student 365 is run in association with the UK’s leading student magazine Fresh Direction which is in partnership with STA travel. This student run, student led unity is full of advice specific blogs, money saving tools and entertainment news that is sure to satisfy your every need.

3. Student of Fortune (http://www.studentoffortune.com) – This virtual hangout offers its members “smart homework help”, at a price. Members can learn from and teach one another by answering each others questions and following each others tutorials, all in regard to your studies. The website provides an extensive and impressive database of knowledge, which has lead to Student of Fortune being featured on abc news.

4. The Student Center  (http://www.student.com) – The Student Center consists of over 960,000 members, welcoming students of all ages. They come together to use The Student Center’s resources exploring the likes of scholarships, grants, and coming to the right decision when it comes to deciding whether to continue your studies. All of this can then also be picked apart on The Student Center’s social network consisting of forums, blogs, and chat rooms.

5. Students Forum  (http://www.studentsforum.co.uk) – The motives of Students Forum is as simple as its name, merely a place for students to socialise and converse about the things that may or may not concern their particular lifestyle. Not only is the forum booming with threads about student life, but you can also participate in the expressive community of blogging.

By Daniella Dixon Cannon

Are students really ‘forced’ into prostitution?

Are students really forced into prostitution? Stephen Paterson doesn’t think they are.

Running an interesting blog around issues related to prostitution, Paterson is close to the heart of the matter. He commented

“I don’t quite see why students are ‘forced’ into the sex trade when the banks fall over themselves to offer student loans. Unlike some people, who undoubtedly are forced into the trade through circumstance, it seems that students in general have a clear choice – whether to accept the level of debt that their studies incur and pay it off later, or instead finance their way in whole or in part through working whilst studying, at which point sex work would be one of the options.”

The Student Loans Company supply a great deal of funding to students in higher education, with the figures for 2010/2011 showing that 948,600 applicants were awarded support in that academic year which totalled over 7 million pounds.  In comparison to the academic year of 2009/2010 these sums showed an increase of 3% of applicants securing support and an increase of 6% of the amount of money awarded.

However, with the harsh economic times upon us, is this 6% rise enough?

The University of Southampton offers an insight into the real costs of living for a student in these economic struggles.

Meanwhile at the University of Birmingham the overall suggested costs of living rank in at:

Estimated living costs 2007/8 UG39 weeks(£) PG51 weeks(£)
Accommodation(average cost for self-catering halls) 3,170 4,530
Meals 1,500 1,960
Books and stationery 310 310
Clothes(including provision of warm clothing and footwear) 310 410
Local transport (buses free if you are in halls with Uni Link ) 390 510
Other general living expenses(eg. photocopying & printing, laundry, phone calls, consumables, entertainment, sports, cooking equipment etc) 1,210 1,580
Total 6,890 9,300

Although fees and loans are not required to be paid back immediately and the system in place allows for small sums to repaid once earning over £15,000 (although this is set to change after the rise in fees), the cost of living is certainly high for those new students who may never have experienced such a lifestyle before.

So perhaps students are not being forced to prostitute themselves for their fees but rather their lifestyle and the high costs of living. Do we therefore need to see changes to the loans in consideration of these hard economic times and the costs of a comfortable living style? Or do students need to realise these high costs and adjust their lifestyle accordingly?

Let us know your experiences of whether students are really ‘forced’ into prostitution by commenting below or alternatively email us at investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com.

Student Lapdancing to Pay Debts.

real names haven’t been used

Her target audience are OLD, WEALTHY MEN, her place of work is A SMALL SEEDY CLUB, she earns in ONE NIGHT what she previously earned in ONE MONTH and although her Mother wouldn’t agree with what she is doing Rachel’s lap dancing job is funding her university education and ensuring that leaves with no debt at all. I spoke to her to find out if this is really the ideal, convenient way to make money that she thought it would be.

Not to be confused with prostitution, lap dancing has in recent years been used by many students to fund a university education that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. Rachel was introduced to this world by a fellow student, “She was so matter of fact about it, it didn’t seem like a big deal… It seemed weird at first but eventually it just becomes a job.” During this investigation I would like to look further at how this way of making money has been “normalised” by students.

It definitely seems like its simply a way of life now for Rachel “Its just a job.”

“I wanted to have nice things, I needed money for those nice things, I needed a job for the money so I lap danced. Its as simple as that.”

She is currently in the last year of her degree and is determined to leave this profession as soon as she gains her dream job. “I don’t want to be here forever, I’m determined to succeed, this is just a stop gap I suppose.”

She clearly has the determination and wants to do a lot with her life but when asked what she would say in the future if anyone found out about this blip on her c.v. she became increasingly defensive. “I wouldn’t tell them, no one would know. I fully intend to keep it secret forever. My dream job is unlikely to happen if anyone knew about this in the future.”

So, not only is she risking her career, her safety and her sanity for money she is also determined to keep this dirty little secret forever. Who knows if she’ll manage it?

Emma Allen

 

The real problems behind student prostitution

So what are the real problems here? Prostitution, or the exchanging of money for sex, is not illegal in the UK and most universities do not have policies related to student prostitution, even though it may be more common than once expected.

If prostitution is a rife as is being suggested in the press, surely universities should be implicating rules and support for those students considering or resorting to becoming one of the suggested growing numbers of prostitutes working for their fees. Prostitution is a dangerous business to be involved in, and although it may offer high pay for work that requires few skills, students must especially be cautious. This path could damage not only career prospects and professional reputation but personal health and well-being.

BBC have reported on Swansea University as they begin conducting research into the concerns around students turning to prostitution in order to find real evidence and not rely on the ‘anecdotal evidence’ currently available. NUS Wales’ women’s officer, Stephanie Lloyd,

“We don’t have figures for exactly how many students are sex workers but the good thing is that we’re finally going to get hard evidence of the scale of it.

“We have some rough ideas of what is needed, such as information around sexual health provision. And it may be that it takes a form of e-health like websites that give people the right support and help. As for these people to go to speak directly to someone is often difficult.”

There are many issues here but firstly, if student prostitution is becoming a growing trend then the lack of support needs to be quickly changed so that students are aware of the real risks involved.

However, perhaps the real issue is that student fees are so high and job opportunities are so few that the students feel they have no way out other than to sell their body for their education? There seems little hope for the near future too with the implication of even higher tuition fees. Could we be set to see a rise in student prostitution?

Our investigation will see us talking to students, universities and organisations to uncover whether the shocking statistics and anecdotal evidence presented is really transpiring across the UK.

What do you believe the real issues are with this situation? Are you a student with insights to real student prostitution?  Let us know your thoughts by commenting or email us privately at investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com. 

Student’s Indifferent to Concerns over Prostitution to Pay Fees

In view of the UK’s recent tuition fee raise, there has been growing concern for the increase of students turning to the sex trade for financial aid.

Medical students in particular have been highlighted as more likely to resort to such measures, as they study for longer then most other students and acquire more debt.

Such indications have led universities to take action, Swansea University for example have recently received funding to investigate just how significant the number of student sex workers actually are after the National Union of Students (NUS) voiced there worries.

Although the idea of students turning to the sex trade to support their studies sounds like a desperate measure, students at The Student Room forums appear to view it as a trivial matter.Several users agree with ‘Stealth-mode‘ who contends,

Whats the big problem? As long as the girl/guy selling sex is safe and comfortable with the sex-work, why should it matter? I would have a problem if the individual was being exploited, but the vast majority of students who go down this line won’t be.

The general consensus does on the other hand seem to view students who turn to the sex trade to fund their education as “looking for the easiest and quickest fix to their money ‘problems’” states ‘Zerforax‘.

But the stigma attached to sex work like prostitution in general is challenged, with students berating society’s judgmental attitude and proposing the legalisation of prostitution could mediate this and the possibility of exploitation.

By Daniella Dixon-Cannon

Picture by The Student Room

Where do the moral objections to sex work end?

In 2007, a study of 130 undergraduates in the South of England highlighted that 10% of these knew of students engaged in sex work, which was defined as “prostitution, escorting, lap dancing or stripping”. The study also drew direct links between the students’ participation in sex work and financial issues.

Student prostitution is happening and it seems that money is the main motive. However, there are a whole host of that still problems remain unclear. Our investigation will be looking into whether this really is a growing trend and if so, where the support is for students and what can be done to prevent students from feeling they have to turn to their last resort of the sex trade. Why are people really concerned with the uncovering of student prostitution?

Posting on Doctors Forum ‘Doc2Doc’, 23-year-old medical student ‘Deb_d’ questions

“Almost all the posters in this thread are of the view [that student prostitution] is not acceptable, but I ask if two adults engage in intercourse involving exchange of money of their own volition then why should it concern the rest of us? How is it any different from employing the services of a doctor, who is selling his intelligence?”

The issue of prostitution as a trade, not only considering the students involved, is frowned upon in society due to moral and cultural reasons. ‘Deb_d’ points out,

“If prostitution didn’t cause cultural or moral outrage then why would the media report it? Students working in other jobs doesn’t become news”.

But where do we draw the line on what’s deemed acceptable? Student prostitution has caused an outrage even though it’s noted as one of the oldest professions in the world, perhaps due to its affiliation with the extortionate fees forcing students into a position where they feel they have to sell themselves to survive their time at university.

However, do the moral objections apply to the part of the trade that can be done from the comfort and safety of your own home without any physical contact? Although virtual,  phone sex is trade of a sexually explicit nature, although it appears to be invisible in the scandal of student prostitution.

Students and Phone Sex

A recent Channel 4 documentary “My Phone Sex Secrets” uncovered the forgotten aspect of the sex trade that is now booming in today’s economic climate thanks to the good pay for minimal and generally safe work. 18-year-old student, Rosa, shared the experience of her first steps into this field and candidly exposed what it really entails. The initial embarrassment soon wore off at the realisation of the money it can offer. The possibility of earning over £500 a week or even £400 for one single call was enough to tempt this student. Rosa believes it “will be a very good and very fun way for me to earn money”.

However, it’s certainly not all fun and games. Rosa resorted to this unconventional employment after searching hopelessly for ‘socially acceptable’ jobs to no avail. With the worst recession since the war and the sky-high university fees, thousands of students are finding themselves in such difficult situations. These economic struggles are calling for drastic measures in which student prostitution and sex work seems to be the only hope.

Student’s Views on Students in the Sex Trade 

22-year-old Birmingham City University Student, Carlie-Ann spoke of how she thought the show was “great” and thought that she could easily take on the job as “it looked such an easy way to make money.

“However when it started to show how it affected some people’s love and personal lives I quickly changed my mind.”

This certainly raises the issues that students involved in the sex trade may be facing much more than money problems if they follow this route, it can impact them physically, mentally and their relationships with the people around them.

Personally, Carlie doesn’t “know anyone involved in student prostitution” and is one of the many that finds these claims of ‘rife’ student prostitution to be “blown out of proportion“.

Although she points out “I don’t think we have a problem at BCU” with student prostitution, she notes that “I think the uni need to help people a lot more with finding student jobs. They are happy to help you find the career you’ll get after uni, but not very helpful with what’s happening now“.

The condemnation of the sex trade is hiding the real problem that needs to be addressed. The lack of support that students are receiving both financially and emotionally is leading them to such extreme measures that they may not be able to cope with. Although the true extent of students in the sex trade is not yet known, it is clear that there are students resorting to selling themselves and that there is a failure in the system to help these students when they need it most.

Do you think that universities should have a responsibility to help their students find work so they don’t have to face turning to the sex trade? Let us know your opinions on the investigation by commenting below or email us privately at investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com.

Introduction to Investigate Student Prostitution

Following the recent frenzy around student prostitution in the media, you might be fooled into thinking that students are regularly turning to selling their body to pay their way through university. Our investigation is going to illuminate the situation and we hope to answer the important question about student prostitution: is it really that common or is it all just a myth?

The furore around student prostitution began in the British Medical Journal when author, 5th year medical student, Jodi Dixon

described a 2010 study of 315 students at London University in which 1 in 10 reported knowing a fellow student who had turned to prostitution out of financial necessity.”

Sarah Walker, spokesperson for the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) told Science that

for women — it’s a survival strategy they are driven into by poverty.

Speculating on the problem, Dixon believes that the case of student prostitution could be

“even more prevalent among medical students than it is in the general student population. At the root of the problem is the issue of sky-high tuition which puts a large financial burden on young people, she says.”

Findings from the English Collective of Prostitutes, when speaking to the BBC, would suggest that more students are coming forward to seek support in relation to prostitution as ECP noted that in December their helpline, from its base in London, received double the number of calls from students from the previous year and the blame lies with increasing student fees and extortionate debts.

Follow our investigation as we uncover the truths, myths and problems of student prostitution. Do you think student prostitution could see a rise coinciding with the rise in fees? Do you believe students are really forced into the sex trade? Let us know any of your thoughts by commenting below or email us privately at investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com.