To pay soaring fees and living costs, rising number of students in UK are taking up part-time work in the sex-industry. Pole and lap dancing being the most popular choice, followed by stripping and prostitution.
University students knowing at least one peer involved in the adult industry has gone up from 4 per cent in 2000 to 10 per cent in 2010. Most of the respondents agree that money was the primary reason behind their peers’s choice.
According to this week’s Student British Medical Journal: “These trends suggest a direct association between increasing debt and the prevalence of prostitution among students.” Experts working with youth are worried that these numbers will surge further drastically as a result of next year’s scheduled steep rise in tuition fees and stripping of the Education Maintenance Allowance.
“The average student today will graduate with a debt of about £25,000. For medical students, who generally study for another two to three years, with more intense working hours and less time for paid employment, the levels of debt are higher. When the current coalition government’s plans go ahead to allow universities to charge fees up to £9,000 per year, the British Medical Association (BMA) estimates that medical students’ debts could increase to almost £70,000,” reads the BMJ editorial.
According to most sources, what attracts in-debt students to such work, especially medical students is the high-paying quality without demanding too many hours. “Greater flexibility to work around studies and higher pay than alternative part time jobs” seems to be a easy choice for struggling students.
The English Collective of Prostitutes, a helpline for sex workers confirmed that they were receiving more and more calls from students considering or involved in prostitution.
The ECP spokesperson Sarah Walker commented: “For many students prostitution is the only means of financial survival and not an easy way to make cash to fund luxuries through a frivolous attitude to sex. Jobs in shops and pubs that students usually take up to cover living costs are increasingly scarce and low paid.”
The BMJ blames mounting debt, lesser jobs along with some examples of British media putting an “alluring” picture on high-end prostitution.
Paying for education through prostitution is not unheard of. A few years ago, girls in New Zealand and USA offered their virginity to pay for their degrees.
Student prostitution also became a worry in France recently when the French national union of students claimed that 40,000 students were working as prostitutes.
Like in India, prostitution is not illegal in the UK too but all activities around it are.