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.

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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

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?

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.

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.