The astronomical increases in university fees are forcing to pursue much riskier lines of work as the pressure of bills, loans and fees takes its toll. It is a horrifying thought that students that use to work in pubs or call centres are now turning to such ghastly and degrading line of work. It is out of desperation that they turn to such extremes as students now expect to face debts amounting to £53,000 with the increase in fees.
Dr Don Roberts from the University of Kingston describes some of the perturbing figures in a study he published in 2010 showing that 1 in 4 students knows someone who has drudged in the sex industry in order to finance their degree. He also discovered the far more shocking facts that 16% would contemplate this line of work seriously and 10% wouldn’t mind being escorts. Teela Sanders and Kath Hardy also discovered that ¼ of lap dancers in fact have a degree. They also revealed that 1/3 of lap dancers were actually using the occupation as an endowment for innovative training.
The internet propelled the prospect of anonymous sex work. For example, the website Sponsor a Scholar, founded by Mark Lancaster, propositioned students with the payment of their student tuition fees in return for sex. The website is now down for maintenance following an undercover reporter meeting with Lancaster, who was expected to have sex with him in order to verify their vow of duty. She was told ‘I need to make sure you’re someone who can represent. It is time for the practical’. The website repulsively asserts that the majority of sponsors are ‘men between the ages of 28 and 50 who run their own successful business and want to have discreet adventures with a student whilst helping them fund their studies through a scholarship’.
One woman came forward and spoke about her experience as she was enticed into this gruesome tale and regrettably had intercourse so she had a chance of qualifying. She was finally sent an email telling her to re-apply in a couple of months. Thus the website turned out to be a hoax, tricking women into a twisted tale. So women are warned about going off with men that they don’t know, as they are extremely vulnerable to this sort of exploitation.
Professor Rob Roberts sums up the severity of the problem as he states the average annual sum of £600,000 – £3,000,000 goes straight from the sex trade into universities. This is reinforced by the increase in number of calls going to The English Collective of Prostitutes which runs a helpline, as the number of calls has doubled, highlighting an increase in the numbers. There may be few jobs, but hold onto your self-respect, good things come to those who wait.