Monday 28-09-2015 - 14:05
With the marketisation of education, attacks on grants, rising debt and increase in the cost of living, it's no surprise that year after year there's a commotion about students engaging in sex work to pay for tuition fees and living costs in the UK.
UPDATE: Following feedback on the survey questions and on reflection of how important what we are trying to achieve here is, we have decided to take down the survey temporarily to update it and ensure we capture data as best we can to reflect the experiences of student sex workers and ensure security and sensitivity measures are met in collecting this information. Please watch this space for further updates and the update version of the survey. If you have already filled out the survey, we would request that you fill it out again so that we can create comparative data and use the all information collectively. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your support in helping us to work effectively on supporting student sex workers.
When it comes to sex work, NUS believes in decriminalisation and workers’ rights, not stigma and marginalisation. When it comes to campaigning on the issue, NUS Women's campaign believes that advocating for the human rights and welfare of student sex work should come before the personal opinions of sex work.
We also believe that political lead of the advocacy that we do should come from the marginalised people at the centre of the struggle, in this case, student sex workers themselves. That's why the Sex Workers Open University, English Collective of Prostitutes and NUS Women's Campaign are looking for current and recent student sex workers in the UK to fill in our survey so that we can gather evidence based ideas of the lives of students in sex work and find out:
- Motivations of students in sex work
- Exisiting needs of students in sex work
- What rights students in sex work are aware of
- What opinions student sex workers have on legislation concerning sex work
- How universities and colleges can help to improve the welfare of student sex workers
We are looking for students from all genders that work or have worked in the sex industry, including but not limited to:
- "Full-service" work (prostitution)
- Dancing (e.g. stripping, peep shows)
- Bar work (e.g. hostessing)
- Webcam performance / custom clips
- Phone sex operation
- Pro BDSM
- Erotic massage / tantra
- Sugar Baby work
Having the voices and the opinions of actual student sex workers at the forefront of this work and advocating sex worker inclusive feminism is important to us.
A Sex Worker Open University spokeswoman said -
"We're delighted that the NUS is asking these questions and doing this evidence-gathering. Knowing what student sex workers want - what their experiences are at work, what could be better for them, what their thoughts on safety are - is a crucial first step in designing policies and services to support them. The NUS has been very supportive of sex workers' rights and safety over several years now, and we're very happy to support them in this research into the needs of student sex workers".
Professor Alison Phipps, Co-Director of Sussex University Centre for Gender Studies and co-author of “That’s What She said” said -
‘In the context of rising fees and attacks on grants, student sex workers are a growing population and they are not being adequately supported by their universities. Indeed, in many cases they are subjected to institutional moral judgments which make their lives much more difficult. In order to ensure that these students are safe and their needs are met, we need to listen to their voices. This survey, developed by NUS in collaboration with sex worker-led groups, will be an important resource in helping us to better care for students working in the sex industry and to fight the discrimination, stigma and violence they face.’
New, updated survey link will be available shortly