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.

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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.

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.