SKINT medical students are turning to prostitution to help pay their tuition fees, a Birmingham student has claimed.
University of Birmingham student Jodi Dixon said a survey revealed that one in 10 trainee medics has a friend who sells sex to cope with higher living costs and rising tuition fees.
This is compared to just four per cent just 10 years ago, and comes as some medical students face debts of up to £70,000 upon graduation when tuition fees rocket in the autumn.
Final year medical student Miss Dixon, 25, also blamed the portrayal of prostitution in shows such as Secret Diary of a Call Girl for fuelling the idea that a life of vice was “glamorous”.
Writing in the Student British Medical Journal, Miss Dixon said: “With escalating debts, students in the United Kingdom may view prostitution as an easy way to get rich quick.
“This view could be fuelled by recent coverage of prostitution in the media—for example, the UK television dramatisation of the popular book Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper.
“The television series portrays the life of Belle de Jour, a high class London call girl. Working for an escort agency, Belle is paid hundreds of pounds an hour to attend classy parties and travel abroad on luxurious holidays.
“She is also paid to have sex with men, and the show makes prostitution seem alluring, because Belle seems to enjoy her job. Danger is never an issue and she oozes glamour and sophistication.”
Medical schools do not believe that prostitution is widespread, but Miss Dixon said her claims were backed up by organisation the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), which had reported a rise in the numbers of calls from students “considering sex work”.
An ECP spokesman said: “Ever since grants were done away with and loans introduced, we have been contacted by increasing numbers of students considering or involved in prostitution. Considering that it is common for a student to be saddled with a debt of £30 000 plus at the end of their course, this is no surprise.”