Students are turning to prostitution to pay for soaring university fees, it is claimed today.
Jodi Dixon, a final-year medical student writing in the Student BMJ, said a survey had revealed one student in 10 claimed to know someone using prostitution to pay for their education.
A decade ago, only four per cent of students said they knew a peer in the sex trade.
She said the trend had been confirmed by the English Collective of Prostitutes which had noticed increasing numbers of calls from students considering sex work.
Ms Dixon, who studies at Birmingham University, said there was an obvious correlation between rising tuition fees and prostitution among students.
The rising costs of both tuition and living left students in huge amounts of debt estimated to be £25,000 for an average student but as much as £70,000 for a medical student.
But she said it was worrying that students believed they had no choice other than prostitution and questioned whether the hike in fees in September would lead to an increase in students entering the sex trade.
There was no official guidance on the issue either from medical schools or the General Medical Council.
An accompanying editorial in the journal reports the case of a medical student who faced either prostitution or “dropping out of medical school”.
The male author, who is anonymous, claims to have 13 wealthy female clients who help pay for his fees which are significantly higher as he is a foreign student. He lives in a rent-free flat and has his own car thanks to funding from his middle-aged clients.
He said that “if studies are not grossly affected by how they are funded… then it doesn’t matter how we make a living”.
Research scientist Brooke Magnanti, who detailed her experiences under the pseudonym Belle de Jour, worked as a high-class call girl for a London escort agency while she studied for a PhD at Sheffield University.