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Medical Students Turn to Prostitution to Pay the Bills

Medical Students Turn to Prostitution to Pay the Bills

Debt is increasingly limiting students’ options post-graduation, especially as the recession dries up funding for expensive law, medical and graduate degrees and youth unemployment reaches staggering levels around the world. And it seems to be driving some students to desperate measures. British medical student Jodi Dixon, who is studying at the University of Birmingham, says that the rising costs of higher education are causing some of her peers to contemplate prostitution.

Dixon cites a study of 300 British college students, 10% of whom said they know a student who had worked as a prostitute or escort in 2010, an increase from just 6% in 2006. In the UK, the act of prostitution itself is not illegal, although related activities (including soliciting sex) are. According to Dixon, the English Collective of Prostitutes says that it has experienced a spike in the number of students considering prostitution. This is undoubtedly related to the costs of medical school, but also speaks to the scarcity of part-time jobs that students might, in the past, have used to supplement their income.

The same phenomenon seems to exist, at least to some extent, in the U.S. Last summer, a Care2 blogger wrote about the website SeekingArrangement.com, which matches young adults with wealthy suitors. The site offers a discount for new members who sign up with a .edu email address. For increasingly financially vulnerable students, this could seem like the only way to pay for their education.

Debates about the morality of prostitution aside, the fact that students feel that sex work is the only alternative to staggering debt is unacceptable. In the UK especially, austerity measures have kept the government from giving graduate students a helping hand, despite the fact that lifetime earnings skyrocket with a master’s degree. It makes sense to invest in higher education, but by cutting funding for public universities and providing less government aid to students, politicians are reducing students’ options to the point where prostitution seems like a viable way to earn much-needed extra cash.

Or, in the words of a female massage parlor owner in Leeds, “In my day, people went to university in order to avoid this kind of life, but now they lead this kind of life in order to go to university.”

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98 comments

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12:45PM PST on Mar 7, 2014

There is nothing wrong with the consentual selling and buying of sexual services between two adults. If you think it is disgusting or immoral then you do not have to partake. Keeping it illegal like it currently is in every state except Nevada is pure tyranny! It's perfectly legal for two adults to have a one night stand but if money is offered it automatically becomes a crime! GIVE ME A BREAK! Dr. Evil THROW ME A FRIGGIN BONE HERE!

2:44PM PDT on May 23, 2013

Legalize prostitution in America!

6:42AM PDT on May 30, 2012

This the only way they can cover the cost arrising

6:14AM PDT on May 30, 2012

wow. Having people talk about prostitution as a "victimless crime" makes me feel sick.

8:37PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

The world's oldest profession is alive and well. Money for sex is a way to survive for millions of students globally. End illegaL WARS, FUND EDUCATION. FREE DEGREES FOR ALL STUDENTS.

1:21AM PST on Mar 8, 2012

"Paid rape"? Wow, what an oxy-moron that phrase is. Think about it. If it was rape, it was because one person wasn't willing (usually the female) and there was some force, threat or coersion. If a woman choses prostitution, it's usually because she wants to make money, and is quite "willing". Yes, there are street prostitutes who are only willing because they have nowhere to go, no other way of surviving and are afraid of what will happen to them if they cross their "pimp", but we're talking about medical students here, hardly the same scenario.

10:58PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

Also, YES, prostitition for the most part, IS a victimless crime, unless it involves underage girls who are basically enslaved. As long as it's illegal, then most "working" women work FOR a "pimp", and that's where the abuse and drugs comes in. IF it was legal, like it is in many countries, and in some places in Nevada, then the women would be their own "boss" and get health inspections, be licensed, pay taxes on what they made, and no need for a "pimp". Sure, there are the scenarios with the bad "johns" who stink, are nasty guys, but you know what, we've all had stinky, nasty coworkers and bosses in many other lines of work. Many people in service industries have to deal with stinky, nasty customers. It's part of "the job". Wonder if dentists want to work on all those people with bad breath?

9:48PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

I have to agree with Barbara that a college education is not a right for everyone that should be paid for by others. Yes, basic schooling and education thru high school......YES, but college? Wow, then so should many other things that the rest of us always had to pay for should therefore be free 'cuz we want them, same as the rich people? For example, I want a nicer car, a Caribbean vacation, and a new barn. Why shouldn't I have them if I want them, since other people have them? Let's see, my former (old) computer was slow, lacked memory and locked up all the time. I couldn't afford to replace it for a long time. I finally did, but why shouldn't I have had a better one when I wanted one? Isn't a computer what everybody these days has and needs? Where does the line stop?

7:54PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

barbara b. education should be a right and it should be an obligation of society. higher education benifits every section of society, it makes people independent and self suffecient. it is right wing attitudes like yours that are snobbish and elitist., in your perfect little dream world where everybody makes enough money to feed the family, pay the bills join the country club and have enough to put aside for their kids college education that might be fine, but visit the real world where people are struggling just to pay the bills and feed their famalies people have lost their jobs, their homes. you are an elitist snob if you think only those who inhabit your american dream world are entitled to higher education and the opportunities they offer. show me any american document that says the sole responsibility of the government...the only thing the american government is obligated to do and can do is "'provides security, regulates commerce, makes laws and interprets them..."


'provides security, regulates commerce, makes laws and interprets them..."

6:14PM PST on Mar 7, 2012

John K. prostitution is far from a "victimless crime." You're a man so how could you know? Women will never open their hearts and talk about their repugnance for this work or how painful it can be both physically and emotionally. Prostitutes are actresses who sell a product. Many men would not even be able to enjoy the experience if they knew how bad they smelled, how much it hurt, how sick these women thought that their fantasies were and how the women faked it and acted like everything was cool. A lot of women are driven into prostitution to feed their kids and pay the bills. Not all of them are drug addicts and I never met one that was a nympho and actually enjoyed being forced into sex against her will several times a day. Women talk to other women. You who would patronize a house of prostitution have no idea how despised you are. The fantasy is all in your heads, not in the heads of these women. You are are an albeit distasteful means to an end.

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