I previously carried out a survey at the Birmingham City University campus that revealed 23 students out of 100 knew a student sex worker. One of the students who took part in this survey and was willing to talk anonymously about her personal experiences living in Halls with a student escort.
What was it like living with a student sex worker?
I was very uncomfortable with it, and often would talk to her about giving it up. She would always come to my room and tell me if she was going out on a job and tell an approx time she would be home.
Did you or any one else ever discuss with her the option to stop?
I did ask her to stop and I believe her friends from home that knew did ask her to stop too. Her family didn’t know anything. This was very uncomfortable for me, I wanted to help her but I had to support myself financially and couldn’t afford to support her too.
What were her reasons for having to work in the sex industry?
She said she had no other options due to problems with her family and money, she commented that she had attempted to get a regular job but had failed.
Did any problems arise from living with someone in that nature of work?
No immediate problems, however she did come in and out of the flat at early hours in the morning and would often stink our communal area out by smoking weed.
What were her reasons for resorting to prostitution?
She had no money, and would often have no food to eat. Some of her family members would ask to borrow money from her and she often had unpaid bills. She would often buy drugs and she said she had no other options for a job as escorting gave her large sums of money immediately.
Did she ever express how the act of prostitution made her feel?
She commented that she would feel emotionless and numb during the actual intercourse and would feel dirty when she returned home. She would always shower afterwards.
Was she open about her profession?
It was only me and a few of her close friends that knew about it, however when intoxicated she was quite open with the subject.
Did you ever think of student prostitution as commonplace before this experience? Has this opinion changed?
It is something that you hear about or read in magazines but never thought I would encounter the situation personally. Even after the experience I’d say that prostitution wasn’t commonplace for students.
Have your opinions on sex work in regards to student living and otherwise changed since this experience?
I have never had a positive opinion of the sex work industry and this has only reconfirmed my opinions of it. It is something I would never resort to. I feel that if you were in that much of a financial struggle you should talk to your parents or go to the student union advice centre and get some financial advice. As a second year student, I haven’t struggled with getting a regular job at all and although the money isn’t instant is much better than degrading yourself to prostitution.
By Daniella Dixon-Cannon