Taking us back over a year ago, I want to draw our attention to the Student Solidarity Trust Report (SST). This report was in regards to a study carried out by Professor Rudo Gaidzanwa and Dr Charity Manyeruke.
The study looked into the lives of female students at the University of Zimbabwe which concluded that students had to resort to prostitution due to desperation.
They were exploited by gardeners who promised them cheaper or free accommodation if they solicited sex, put into a position where they had no means of attending classes unless they made these choices.
It would appear that students having no other option but to resort to sex work is an predicament vacant from western society. Or is it?
According to The National Student’s Union, a growing number of students are turning to prostitution in the UK. The Daily Echo reports that students in Southampton are turning to “sugar daddy” websites to fund their education.
Websites like SeekingArrangement offer young women the opportunity to get paid thousands of pounds to go on dates with rich, older men or “sugar daddies”. The website reports that 35% of its UK members are now students.
Graduate and former “sugar baby” says, speaking to The Daily Echo, “I was extremely reluctant” but made the decision to join SeekingArrangment because she “had no chance of paying any of the debt back in the short term while I tried to forge a stable career for myself.”
“We were boyfriend and girlfriend but I was paid £2,500 a month, which was more than enough to cover my bills while I pursued my career in film.”
Is this the kind of decision you’re forced to make, are they being exploited like the women in Zimbabwe? UK organisaton, Women’s Support Project thinks so,
“We should be concerned about the potential for abuse and exploitation which comes with this combination of money and economic vulnerability.”
According to Wales Online, recent research shows that the number of students in Wales turning to the sex industry for money is also growing.
Dr Teele Sanders and Rosie Campbell carried out the research report when the Cardiff City Council were urged to examine the conditions that students may have been working at, such as adult entertainment clubs.
The report found that over a third of dancers were students. According to the Prostitutes Collective, the number of calls made by students had significantly increased and they’re blaming rising tuition fees and the Cardiff City Council research complies with this.
An academic project due to start next month, will survey students who have turned to the sex industry as a means of paying tuition fees and living costs. In light of this, Madame Becky Adams has come forward to Wales Online.
Adams ran brothels for two decades, and say that a site for first-time escorts owned by a friend has seen interest soar. Its not only students who they’ve seen resorting to sex work, but women from all walks of life.
Dr Tracey Sagar and her colleague Debbie Jones from the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice at Swanswea University has also been carrying out long-term research into the field.
Their research seems to corroborate the current trend amongst students, as is showed that there is an increasing amount of men and women in Cardiff turning to prostitution as a career choice.
By Daniella Dixon-Cannon