Is Student Prostitution a problem of the lower classes?

The occupation of ‘Prostitute’ has long been assosciated with smut, disgrace and low class women. These helpless, often drug abusing women are looking to make a quick buck out of sleazy old rich men, but is this the case? Who is becoming involved in prostitution and why are they turning to such a sordid way of earning money?

The National Union of Students has claimed that the vast majority of students that are being forced to turn to prostitution according to their records have been those taking part in longer courses, such as Medical Science and Veterinary Science. They add that these are often students from a more advantaged background.

A study carried out in Canada by the Canadian Medical Asasociation suggested that students studying Medical Science tended to come from more advantaged background, their parents tended to have professional highly paid jobs and they tended to be from White, Chinese or Indian heritage.

This suggests that the students that are turning to prostitution to make ends meet have hailed from particularly well off families. Are they shocked by the transition to living on their own and struggling to maintain the lifestyle to which they have become acostom?

Has the desire to look after themselves driven them to sex work?

The image of the conventional sterotypical prostitute is definitely evolving but in to what?

A posh naive medical student with a taste for caviar and designer handbags?

What do you think? Let us know : @investigatesp

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Student Prostitution: Tuition fees, Living costs, Charities, Myth?

Student prostitution is continually reported as being a massive issue that needs urgent government attention. Students are apparently being forced into the sex industry against their will, but are they?

The rise in student prostitution has been blamed on a simultaneous rise in tuition fees and living costs however recent research suggests this not to be the case.

Tuition Fees 

Tuition fees have risen in 2012 to £9,000 from around £3,000, however students won’t actually feel the impact of this until well after they leave their studies.

Students will need to earn over £21,000 a year before they even begin to pay back their loan and it has been calculated that students would have to earn over £41,000 for 30 years if they wish to completely pay back their loans at all.

Living Costs

After looking in-depth at the living costs that would affect students in 2012 it is apparent that the actual rise in living costs is relatively small. Closer to 3% rather than the 5% that has been reported in the press.

Charities

Charities set up to help prostitutes and people within the sex industry have also failed to report an increase in student prostitution. One25, a prostitution charity set up in Bristol have reported that they haven’t encountered any students accessing their facilities at all. 

Students themselves

However a recent survey has suggested that almost a quarter of students at a Birmingham University admitting to knowing a fellow student that works within the sex industry. Suggesting that students aren’t being forced in to prostitution and are in fact electing to sell their body.

Students, having recently left home and the shelter of family life are in fact looking for a quick and easy way to make money. Something that won’t take too much time away from their social life and studies but will fund the life style that they have become a custom to whilst living at home. Prostitution is simply the job that has filled this need for a fast income and rise in living fees and tuition have become the obvious but innocent thing to blame.

Do you have an opinion on student prostitution? Why do you think its happening? Is it a problem? Please comment below or contact us at investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com and let us know what you think.

Are fee rises really to blame? – chart

A clearer presentation of some of the data presented in “Are fee rises really to blame?” as shown below.

Graph displaying differences in prices on items from an average food shop

Graph displaying differences in prices on items from an average food shop
(click for larger image)

This chart focuses primarily on the change in prices of items included in food shopping as some of the other payments mentioned (i.e. mortgage) are unlikely to be relevant towards students.

From this chart there is no clear rise nor fall in price on food. In fact as stated in the table here, overall there is a decrease in overall cost of thirty-five pence.

Student Prostitution: Are fee rises really to blame?

Although students are very much aware of the price of their degree when they begin, they aren’t required to pay it back for aslong as it takes them to earn over £21,000. Moreover, a student would have to earn over £41,000 for 30 years to pay off their entire loan within the new guidelines.

Several recent reports have looked into the link between the rise in tuition fees and the number of students turning to prostitution but is this really the case?

The maintenance loan (the portion of the loan to cover living costs) actually remains unchanged. Therefore students have no less money to live on than previous attendees.

Why are recent headlines declaring the education system has a prostitution dilemma on its hands?

The rise in living costs maybe to blame. The Daily Telegraph recently conducted a study regarding the real cost of living in which it examined how much the cost of living had actually gone up in recent years. They found that overall the cost of living had gone up by more than 9.5% however when examining the break down of items within the living cost index is it apparent that not many of these areas would be of particular issue to the average student.

According to the report, an average food shop had only risen by around 30p.

…and several household bills, although several not particularly relevant to students had only risen by around £3.00.
This therefore begs the question, how have students been left so out of pocket that they would be “forced” into the world of prostitution?

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.