NUS: Students turning to prostitution to fund studies

Greater numbers of students in England are turning to prostitution to fund their education, the National Union of Students (NUS) claims.

The NUS also says students are turning to gambling and taking part in medical experiments to fund their studies.

It says increased living costs and fees, and cuts to the education maintenance allowance, play a part.

But the government says it offers students a “generous package” of financial support.  Full article article can be found here,

Laura Lee a Glasgow escort and sexwork activist who has been working as an escort for 16 years was invited to participate in the Radio 5 Live program.

All the clips are started with a sad story of a woman Claire who started to fund her A level by working for an escort agency. This set the scene that prostitution is damaging to the individual, it also set the prospect that agencys will recruit 16 year olds to work for them, breaking the law and criminalising the client.   She though did not start until 18, but soon stopped working as an escort.  Sex work was undoubtedly unsuitable for her and she left.  We must not forget they she made the decision to start, and stop.  I do wonder where the researches find their subjects.

The first clip is an introduction by Estelle Hart from the National Union of Students, and some follow up information from the English Collective of Prostitutes.  The ECP spokesperson says there has been an increase of young people coming to them from advice.

Estelle Hart National Union of Students on BBC Live 5 14th December

The second clip an introduction to research by Dr Ron Roberts from Kingston University.  He has found an increase in the number of students who would consider sex work to fund their tuition.  This is up now 16% of the student population.

Dr Ron Roberts University of Kingston BBC 5 Live 14th December

The third clip is about 10 minutes long where Laura made her very good points, and argued against many sex worker stereotypes.  Laura has seen many new young people enter sex work, whether this is student fees or the recession.  She has no regrets entering the sex industry, it was a career choice.  For students they must be made aware of all the facts to make an informed decision.  Laura introduces the buddy scheme where old hands are teamed up with newbies  to help the newbies from making mistakes.  She mentions the upside, (travel, meeting nice people) and the downside  (legislation and stigma).  There is no moral down side, and sex work should be treated like any other job, and as a job does not affect her romatic relationships outside of work.

Laura Lee on BBC Live 5 14th December

Racheal, presenter, tries and says there is this Belle de Jour myth, and that most sex workers are controlled and work for pimps, and tries to intimate Laura is privileged.  Laura counters this with her knowledge of women through out the layers of the industry, and says this is not true at all. (This is reiterated by a number of callers later on).

Laura counters the tax argument, by saying she already pays tax.

The fourth longer clip (1 hour) is the phone in. (Sorry I have not edited out the news and sports news yet).  In the first half Laura also spoke, as well as Peter Stringfellow, along with several phone ins. For all you strippers and lap dancers, Peter Stringfellow does not consider you are sex workers, but entertainers.

The second half of the phone in had the Abolitionist Finn MacKay speaking and no Laura) Unfortunately there was nobody who could then counter the exaggerated rhetoric from Finn.  Examples are that 5000 under age women are being raped every night on the streets by clients.  That the decriminalisation in New Zealand and Australia brings large increases in the illegal sector.   Nothing was said  by those on the legalisation/decriminalisation side that we don’t want Navada brothels, but total decriminalisation.   Please BBC if you have an expert on one side of the argument, then please have an expert on the other side as well.

Phone in on BBC Live 5 14th December



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