When Australians think of university, many seem to forget about the large debt that comes with it. With student debts, it’s almost impossible to get through tertiary education without a job unless you have significant savings or financial support from your family/friends. So is it really any surprise that more students are turning to sex work than ever before?
With ever-rising rental prices, cost of living and the curriculum becoming more demanding with mandatory hours of study per week / per subject, it’s no wonder that various interviews with students at a number of Melbourne Universities revealed some had chosen to become Melbourne escorts over other jobs like your standard bar and waiter or waitress jobs.
Dr. Lantz, who lectures at the University of Melbourne, found those students who turned to sex work, did so due primarily for financial reasons.
“For a lot of these students it was quite difficult to get employment that was permanent and well-paid or enough pay to see them through their university studies, and also for international students, it dispelled a whole lot of myths about international students, that they’re quite wealthy but that’s not necessarily the case – with restrictions to visas, they found it really difficult to get paid employment over a certain amount of time, so they would look for more cash-in hand jobs.”
Over in the UK, the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project (SWOP) had a stall at Brighton University‘s annual fair day for undergraduates. The purpose of the stall was to offer advice to those considering or already doing sex work. Its organisations like SWOP that play a key role in providing support to new sex workers.
So what support networks are available in Australia for local and international students looking to do sex work?
Whilst some schooling institutions have student-based support groups available, here are some great organisations that are there for support:
NSW – Sex Workers Outreach Project
QLD – Respect Inc
VIC – RhED and Vixen Collective
TAS – Scarlet Alliance
NT – NT SWOP
SA – SIN
WA – Magenta
In 2018, survey data showed that on average 21.3 percent of all students on Australian campuses were international students. Of that 21.3%, roughly half were female. Recent reports from brothels located in major cities stated that approximately 25% to 40% percent of their sex workers are students and these numbers are only rising.
With the increase of both local and international student sex workers, the Australian government should be encouraging and funding institutions to do more to create a safe place for our students. This sounds like a lot. However if we consider the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the estimated international education alone is worth $32.4 billion to the Australian economy.
Therefore it only makes sense that we support this adult services stream.
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