Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Undergrad female students as sex workers

The Australian publication, THE SUNDAY AGE reports that “HUNDREDS of university students in Victoria have turned to prostitution to pay their way through higher education…Up to 40% of the female sex workers in Melbourne’s brothels are attending the city’s eight universities and other colleges.

Monetary issues appear to be the main motivation for Australian coeds to become sex workers. One 22 year old coed who has been working as a prostitute for 18 months stated- “In an ideal world I wouldn’t be doing this work but it’s well paid and there’s no way I could afford to complete university and live out of home if I had any other part-time job.”

THE SUNDAY AGE contacted the managers of all Australian brothels; and nearly all of the managers estimated that 40 to 50% of their sex workers were full-time students.

Glen Barnes, general manager at Melbourne’s largest brothel, the Daily Planet, said that university students often made the best workers. He explained: “We’ve got nearly 200 girls on our books and I’d say at least 35% are students, and they’re nearly always a pleasure to deal with.

“Typically they’re very career-oriented and know exactly what they want to get out of the job. Going to uni is obviously getting more and more expensive, and for many who haven’t got wealthy parents, this is the best way to make ends meet. Most of the girls say it’s the rising costs of fees and being a student in an expensive city like Melbourne that is making them consider the sex industry.

“We’re happy to have them and try to provide an environment which supports them. That means that if it’s quiet and they’re not with a client we allow them to get out their laptops and study in a spare room.”

A spokeswoman for Top of the Town, another large brothel in the CBD, with about 90 girls on its books, said that girls from all backgrounds were involved.

“You really can’t generalise about the type of girl that will become a sex worker,” she said.

“We’ve got workers who went to the most prestigious schools in Melbourne and come from very affluent families. In their cases I think they’ve made the decision that they’d want to earn their own money rather than accepting handouts from their parents.

“We’ve also got girls who come from more disadvantaged situations, who can’t live at home while they study, or perhaps they don’t want to be a burden on their parents.

“By working in the sex industry they can earn a lot of money in a relatively short period of time.

“The shift work also means that it’s fairly easy for them to combine it with their studies.

“Brothels in Melbourne are very well run and offer a safe, clean environment and, after all, these ladies aren’t doing anything that’s illegal. Some people may object to it, but it really is very professional.”

The Top of the Town spokeswoman said one former sex worker had paid her way through a law degree by working one or two nights a week and, once qualified, had returned to the brothel to give legal advice to some of the girls.

“A lot of the time with students, the girls are very clear that they’ll only work while they’re studying,” the spokeswoman said. “Once they’ve got their degree or qualification that’s it, they’ll walk away.

“It’s not necessarily a choice for the rest of your life, just a way of paying your way until you get to where you want to go.”

In terms of the financial needs of university students living in Melbourne, “Statistics from the University of Melbourne show that rent and living expenses for those students who live in the city totals about $25,000 if living in university or shared accommodation in the city. This does not include tuition fees, which are deferred until after graduation. For a student living in a one-bedroom flat or studio, this cost can rise to more than $30,000.”

Apparently, universities are aware of this situation-

A spokeswoman for Monash University said: “Obviously these ladies are adults and are free to make their own choices about what work they want to enter into. However, we do have extensive services for those who are suffering money problems. Any student can visit our financial counsellors, who are available on all campuses.

“We also offer a wide range of grants, scholarships and bursaries, to those from financially challenged backgrounds.”

The dankprofessor notes that the article reported only on students employed as prostitutes in brothels. Other avenues for prostitution may have been via self-employment, advertising on the internet, employment as escorts as well as employment as escorts for the entertainment of clients of large corporations. Of course, female students may also be employed in other areas of sex work, such as strippers and as actors in pornography.

The article does fail to give any attention to male students who are employed in some capacity as sex workers.

So to date, the dankprofessor blog has reported on students employed as sex workers in France and Australia. Blog readers references to articles dealing with other countries, particularly the USA, will be most appreciated.

If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration
to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

March 4, 2008 - Posted by | higher education, prostitution, sex, sex workers

1 Comment »

  1. The fact that female students earn their keep as sex workers is not limited to certain cities. When I worked in New York City 20 years ago, many female students worked as call girls. A large group of their clients came from the Japanese companies located there. Each Japanese newcomer was given the telephone numbers of ‘call girl apartments’. Until today nothing has changed – there is no recession in the sex business.
    Moscow, Russia, is called ‘the prostitutes paradise’, there is very much work for them. Again, many female/male students earn money as sex workers often continuing after graduation because women in many types of regular businesses are paid little (it is very expensive to live in Moscow). Often companies do not pay their salaries on time forcing the women to go back to prostitution. Some women combine regular office work with ‘sex work’, from 8 am to 6 pm in the office, from 7 to 9/10 pm in the brothel. I know one young woman personally who has such a schedule.

    Comment by Erik Wassenich | November 25, 2009 | Reply

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