Attitudes Towards Student Prostitution

Whether it’s for or against, everybody has an opinion on the subject of student prositution.

On Twitter the attitude, particularly among younger persons and students, seems to be one of mockery, joking over lack of money and a need to sleep with others for money because there’s no potential alternative.

Twitter search for 'student prostitution'

Whereas in the comment sections on an article on the Mail Online regarding the issues, the attitude is generally one of digust and incredulity.

Comments on a feature article commenting on the rise in student prostitution as found in the Daily Telegraph

Although these comments are only a small sample of the opinions available and expressed and cannot be taken to be wholly representative of Great Britain or even of Daily Mail readers and Twitter users, from these you can see there would appear to be an obvious divide between the younger and older generation with one seeing it as a form of myth and the other as an ‘easy way out’ often citing the excuse of how men are able to pay for their education without resorting to such practices.

Are students aware of the responsibilities involved?

Gallery

Last week, Donna Asutaits was sent to jail after failing to pay taxes on earnings of over £300,000 ove the course of her career as a prostitute. A career which she began as a student in order to pay for her … Continue reading

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

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.

Should we be putting a stop to student prostitution?

Writing for Yahoo Lifestyle, Catherine Maillard certainly thinks so.

Catherine writes that “on the point of being trivialised within the student community, it goes hand in hand with crisis and insecurity, but not just this: the internet and its wide access to different options contributes to the growth of the problem.”

However, she fails to note that there are students, and particularly females, involved in sex work that enjoy and feel empowered by their work.

Catherine touches on the idea that “prostitution can equally be a deliberate choice” but follows by suggesting that in the case of internet ads for such jobs, “it is nothing more than a trap”.

Empowering, dangerous or degrading?

It appears that very few people find themselves sat on the fence when it comes to prostitution, especially student prostitution.

Catherine calls upon a 19-year-old student, Stephanie who “gradually started to offer sexual favours to her social landlord” when she couldn’t pay off her rent.

There are certainly serious and obvious dangers apparent in the sex trade. Especially when such students are taking on roles that “do not have proper contracts” which may lead them into “ambiguous situations, …find[ing] themselves drawn into things they did not sign up for in the first place. “

The sex industry is one that society often wishes to sweep under the carpet and pretend isn’t happening but addressing the real problems and issues that are still occurring is a crucial step for improving one of the oldest professions in the books.

The very real dangers faced by prostitutes include rape, abuse and violent death… dangers that may be faced on a daily basis. In 2000, Melissa Farley (PhD) summarised in a fact sheet on human rights violations, specifically considering prostitution, that…

Prostitution is:

a) sexual harassment
b) rape
c) battering
d) verbal abuse
e) domestic violence
f) a racist practice
g) a violation of human rights
h) childhood sexual abuse
i) a consequence of male domination of women
j) a means of maintaining male domination of women
k) all of the above

So perhaps student prostitution or prostitution as a whole should be completely illegalised and stamped out?

But what about those women that rely on the income to survive, surely the answer is not to get rid of a trade that does offer some positives that are often neglected. Perhaps the real need for change is the attitude to the profession. If the sex trade was viewed as a  profession and treated with the same consideration, the case of violence and health dangers could be better dealt with. If formal laws and regulations became commonplace within the industry that has been demonised with a seedy reputation, the people employed within it would be safer, which is ultimately one of the root problems within the industry.

If the women, and men, in the industry were properly protected perhaps the room for those  empowered by their choice of work would leave more approval for the sex trade.

So, perhaps we shouldn’t be asking whether we should we be putting a stop to student prostitution, or prostitution as whole, but asking how the industry can be improved to care for the workers.

Let us know your thoughts and experiences by commenting below or email us privately at investigatestudentprostituion@gmail.com.

Why should we care about student prostitutes?

Student prostitutes are definitely in existence within most universities throughout the world. Several reports have recently described it as a crisis that needs the governments urgent attention but why should we be concerned? What implications does it have? and should this ‘trend’ continue what is the future for students?

Prostitution maybe the oldest profession in the world but it may well also be one of the most dangerous. The Poppy Project‘s aim is to map commercial sex around London, they have found that 18% of women working as prostitutes in flats, parlours and saunas are originally from the UK, it is difficult to discover how many of these have been brought to the UK specifically for the sex industry.

Even scarier facts include: 87% of women in street-based prostitution use heroin (M. Hester and N. Westmarland, Tackling Street Prostitution: Towards an Holistic Approach, Home Office Research Study 279, London, 2004). Due to the massive percentage of the women involved with heroine it seems inevitable that students might be caught up in that 87%.

In the UK as many as 60 women involved in prostitution have been murdered in the last 10 years (Home Office, Paying the Price: A consultation paper on prostitution, 2004).

Several charities have been set up specifically to help prostitutes to attempt to help them operate as safely and carefully as possible and they stress it is essential that the plight of the nations prostitutes be recognised. Calling for decriminalisation as they feel it would better protect the workers within the sex industry for violence and abuse. Further information can be found around the pros and cons of prostitution here. 

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?

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.

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.

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.