A study conducted by the National Student Money Survey showed that 78% of students have monetary problems. It also showed that more than 1 in 10 of students use sugar dating, webcamming, and sex work to fund their studies.
The Independent and Save The Student have accused countless UK Universities of “burying their heads in the sand” as they “are worried about the bad press” when it comes to many students turning to sex work in order to deal with the financial pressures of university and student life. According to The Independent and The English Collective of Prostitutes, universities have also been accused of expelling students that are found to be involved with sex work too.
Go to any university in the UK, America, Japan and talk to young students. I promise you a good amount of them are doing sex work whether it be sugar daddy or stripping. It really has less to do with “idols” and “maid cafes” than it does lack of employment to pay for high tuition
— 🌷amina du Jean・あみなデュジャン (@aminadujean) February 1, 2019
Anonymous students told The Independent that they were forced to turn to “full service sex work” in order to pay rent and that it “became apparent that there was no other option.” Another student was even evicted from her university accommodation and threatened to kick her out of university as she was bringing “moral disrepute” against the university.
The University of Brighton launched an investigation after its student union faced a lot of criticism for allowing sex worker stall to promote sex work at their freshers’ fair. According to spectators, the stall advocated and encouraged students to turn to sex work. Sex work appears to be an easy, flexible way for students to make money; an anonymous source told The Independent that he made more than £70 a week for simply recording videos and taking pictures of his feet. Many say that sex work is safe and flexible for students as there are less risks of face-to-face work with the rise of technology and the work can fit around rigid university timetables.
The Kiss Quotient got me thinking about sex work. These bills and student loans need to be paid 😂
— Merline (@merlinereads) January 26, 2019
NUS have tried to raise awareness and lower discrimination that sex workers face. Save the Student’s Jake Butler said that “universities need to continue their efforts to provide support and create spaces in which students feel safe accessing advice, to ensure all students are aware of their rights and can practise their work safely.”
Sarah Lasoye, women’s officer for the NUS, said: “Universities as a whole need to take a much less judgemental outlook on the types of work that students are doing.”
Ms Lasoye said: “A motivating factor for students who are working in the sex industry not coming forward, or seeking help if they need it, is the fear of punishment.” She added: “Universities have a responsibility for the welfare of student sex workers – simply burying their heads in the sand is not a solution.”
A Universities UK spokesperson said: “Recognising that they are adults, all universities have a duty of care to their students. This means protecting their welfare in order to support them as learners, encouraging legal, safe and healthy behaviours but not dictating what these behaviours should be.”
Zahra Iqbal, News Editor