Home » Welcome to the Third World » Welcome to the Third World, Part 10: Students Become Strippers

Welcome to the Third World, Part 10: Students Become Strippers

by John Rubino on December 4, 2012 · 39 comments

Poverty – or its prospect – sometimes leads one to make surprising choices. Here’s a truly disturbing example, from London’s Independent:

Students and the sex industry: Empowering or the last resort of the debt-ridden?
With unemployment levels soaring across Britain, job prospects for graduates have never looked so bleak. But one sector proving resilient, and lucrative, for young people struggling to meet the inflated costs of higher education is the sex industry.

The number of students using their bodies to pay their fees has doubled in the past year, according to new research. A study of undergraduates and postgraduates across the UK found that as many as 6 per cent are turning to lap-dancing, pole-dancing, escorting and prostitution in order to fund their studies.

Professor Ron Roberts, who led the research at Kingston University, said an average annual sum of between £600,000 and £3m per institution is going into universities straight from the sex industry. “Sadly, students are a financially vulnerable and heavily indebted financial sector and have become targets for people with money. The economy of the sex industry is now heavily intertwined with higher education economy,” he said.

The English Collective of Prostitutes, which runs a helpline from its base in London, said the number of calls it receives from students has doubled in the past year.

Kelley Temple, women’s officer at the National Union of Students, said she was aware of a growing number of young women turning to prostitution to fund their studies. While she refused to condemn students turning to sex work, she said: “I think it is concerning that some seek to capitalise on the poverty and financial hardship of women students and sexualises what is undoubtedly intended to be an unequal power dynamic … to exploit the fact that women students are in dire financial situations in pursuit of an education.”

Some thoughts
As the article notes, colleges and the sex trade have always been, um, intimately related. So it’s the trend that matters: When something doubles in a year, that’s a sign of fundamental change. In this case, the cost of higher ed is soaring while jobs for both students and graduates are becoming scarce. The result: thousands of kids who would prefer to be working with clothes on are now dancing naked for strangers – if they’re lucky.

The above article is from Britain, but it’s a safe bet that the US is heading in the same general direction given our similar trends in tuition, student debt, and jobs. So next time you’re at a college football game, look around. If there are 10,000 students in the stands, 600 might be strippers or prostitutes.

Why relate this to the Third World? Because in poor countries the sex trade, along with the military and (often) drug cartels, form the safety net for children of the least fortunate. Now, as the developed world runs out of money, our kids are finding out how the other half survives.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

jim frazier December 4, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Truly sad, and its the bankers who have the money and use their ill gotten gains promoted by central banks, endorsed by governments to act like fools encouraging this with their money.

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Antiehypocrite December 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

The author is exactly right. The rich get richer and the middle class gets wiped out – or in this case – some struggle to grasp at a decent life sacrificing their bodies to get there.

Soon enough the stripping and the whoring won’t be about paying tuition….. it will be about getting money for the girls and their families to eat.

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Rachael December 9, 2012 at 2:16 am

It’s been about getting food for their families for quite some time……you’re just becoming aware of it now…..

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Jason Emery December 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm

I would think that the demand for sexual services would be fairly flat. If so, wouldn’t you think that these students are displacing other, uh, less educated sex workers.

Also, if , all of a sudden, there are is a huge influx of sex workers, and the demand rises only a little, or not at all, you would think the rate of compensation would drop dramatically.

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paper is poverty December 5, 2012 at 3:41 am

I don’t think there’s much (if any) displacement of those less educated workers. I think there are two different markets. There are wealthy men in London who would help out a “special friend” of theirs with a few tuition payments and consider it all fairly above board. They probably figure that if they’re going to have a mistress anyway it might as well be someone they can help out financially (and who just happens to be quite young, isn’t that convenient). I think that market is far removed from the street market, which is not to minimize the damage it’s doing to a lot of these women. Just saying that demand in this market can likely increase for a long time to come.

In the strip clubs they could be displacing the less educated contingent, though.

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Jason Emery December 7, 2012 at 2:58 am

paper–But then you are saying that the demand for this ‘special frien’, wink, wink, service has recently increased significantly. Hard to believe that, with the wealthy leaving the UK in droves to avoid the higher taxes.

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PaperIsPoverty December 7, 2012 at 4:32 am

I suppose what I should have said is that latent demand is sufficient to allow for an increase in this market for a long time to come.

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Jerome Eisen December 5, 2012 at 12:02 am

This is nothing new tome since i was in Europe during the Korean War and walking down the streets in my navy uniform with my budies women hanging out the windows saying hey joe”my daughter for you” come up joe” here in Americka we pay enormous amount of money for the girls to get educated in school they will get educated instreets and whereever they can make that buck.I know I was there. They loved us and we loved it too all the sailors walking down the streets had a good time from England to Itlaly and inbetween.gookydu1

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Jerome Eisen December 5, 2012 at 12:03 am

hello third World

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Jerome Eisen December 5, 2012 at 12:04 am

any Questions Guys?

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Jerome Eisen December 5, 2012 at 12:07 am

Being Hetro Sexual is the greatest in those times!

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ronPaulWasRight December 5, 2012 at 1:36 am

Man, I hate to have to go here, but I’m incandescent with frustration over Jerome’s witless comments…

Jerome, It’s spelled “hetero” and is neither capitalized, nor a word by itself. You are yet another example of the failure of our abysmal US public education system. Even if one extrapolates from the embarrassingly poor grammar the core of your comments, there is no substance, only juvenile spew, bereft of any insight or contemplative intellect to which I’m accustomed around here. Oh, and for the love of God, could you please at least learn to spell America?

One more thing, thank you for your service. I mean to the US, not to the local European…you know, “economy”…on our dime.

God bless

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Jerome Eisen December 5, 2012 at 2:27 am

as long as you know what l’m talking about,many the sailors married there first girl over there,i was stuped enough to wait till i got home to get married and found out she did ‘nt know anything about being able to have an orgasim or where her cltoris was.Then blame it on the man her lack of sexuality.

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Jerome Eisen December 5, 2012 at 12:11 am

Great article John Robino

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J W Majors Majors December 5, 2012 at 1:07 am

Liberalism and Socialism at work.A dying corrupt society.RIP.

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ronPaulWasRight December 5, 2012 at 2:02 am

Perhaps we could solve much of the problem if every student would decide to postpone their pursuit of higher education for just a year or two. The laws of supply and demand would surely have a positive effect on the costs of tuition to these outrageously expensive schools. At some point, students will finally see that starting their careers with thirty years of debt isn’t really all that intelligent. If kids quit acquiescing to these greed-driven schools, the schools will be forced to reel in this insanity. Kids need to learn to equate debt with slavery, because that is exactly what it is. Government loans don’t help either, as all that does is encourage the school to drive up tuition even higher.
I work in the film production industry. Everything I learned, I did so on my own and at my own expense, no loans. I’m now in the upper 27% of wage-earners in the US. I work with dozens of kids, fresh out of college and loaded to the hilt with astronomical levels of debt, many over 100k. Most of them will likely never own a house, because they will never be able to afford it.
American citizens wield more power than they could ever possibly hope for, they only need to learn HOW to wield it. The middle class is being wiped out only because we, as a nation, allow it. Ignorance and apathy are at the root of our problems. We have no one to blame, but ourselves.

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Makati1 December 5, 2012 at 7:42 am

No, it wouldn’t change the cost. The government would just make the loans easier to get and maybe zero interest. After all, that way they cut down the unemployment numbers and make their programs look successful. Spend baby spend! We aren’t in a depression!

But the fact that student loans are 30+% past 90 days due is telling us that it is a failing program. And those loans cannot be shed in bankruptcy. It’s pay up or death to get a zero balance due.

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Agent P December 5, 2012 at 5:01 am

This ain’t big news for the U.S. I can tell you right now, that college skin has been selling quite well here at home for at Least 20 years, if not longer. And it isn’t all about paying off student loan $debt either… Once these young women become convinced (by their girlfriends), that ‘it ain’t no big deal’ selling yourself – for show, favors – or both, the inhibitions come down (along with the panties), and the $$$ erase all trace of ‘morality & shame’. That’s how it rolls and anybody telling you something different is full ‘O Sh!t -

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PaperIsPoverty December 5, 2012 at 5:57 am

But a doubling of workers in this market in a year’s time is surely of interest, no matter how long this has gone on.

I assume the US hasn’t yet seen that sort of huge increase in the college sex industry, because the US gov’t is still guaranteeing almost all the student loans, to the point where they’re a form of welfare. Can’t get a job? Get a student loan and show up for some classes — and I know people who have done this. People also take out further loans in order to take classes in order to defer existing loans (talk about the downward spiral). But some day the easy loans will have to come to an end and then we might see an explosion in this sort of sex work in the US. Or not– because maybe any tightening of loans would burst this ridiculous higher ed bubble. It’s astonishing what people are willing to do to get two letters after their name on a resume, when half the time that degree won’t be relevant to the job they actually get hired for. A very sad situation when a woman thinks she needs to sell herself to buy her ticket to the middle class, only to find out the ticket is counterfeit.

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vegas kid December 5, 2012 at 7:33 am

I live in Vegas that’s been Normal for years

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Menotyou December 5, 2012 at 10:45 am

Agent P

You are spot on, couldn’t have said it better myself.

One other comment. The article makes the student debt problem sound as if young women are the only sufferers and assume men are all doing just fine, what with all their disposable cash to spend on prostitutes and all. At least young female students can make decent money in the sex industry, unlike men. And most women end up enjoying the “empowerment” anyway, so it’s all bonus for them. Our society has made it very easy, if not advantageous for women to shed their clothes, morals and inhibitions. These prissy teenage girls all drive with pink Playboy Bunny emblems on their windshields or seat covers and dress/act like members of the Pussy Cat Dolls and lost their virginity at age 12. It wasn’t ever going to take long before (female) student debt was interlinked with the sex industry.

Feminism has a lot of explaining to do. How does sexual objectification = empowerment??

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PaperIsPoverty December 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Feminists don’t think whoring and stripping is empowering to women… it’s just that there’s always some woman who claims to be a feminist who says sex workers just love their work, and she gets all the press because it’s a tale men like to tell themselves. Just look at Jerome Eisen and his “They loved us.” Uh huh.

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Menotyou December 9, 2012 at 9:32 am

What is the difference between the Pussy Cat Dolls, a Sex Worker and a contemporary Teenage Schoolgirl? Absolutely nothing! They all sexually objectify THEMSELVES for fun and/or profit.

“it’s a tale men like to tell themselves”

A comment entirely consistent with the feminist thought process of, ‘It’s always the oppressive man’s fault we are in this predicament’.

Perhaps you should familiarise yourself with the teachings of leading feminist magazines like Cosmopolitan, et al, to educate yourself as to exactly whom is sexually encouraging who here. Have you read what the (solely female) editors of these magazines promote to other young impressionable teenage women? It isn’t chastity, dignity and self respect…

Women are doing a bloody fine job of sexually objectifying themselves without any man’s help whatsoever, thank you very much. They (feminists) call it the “Sexual Revolution”.

In fact, a lot of men are turned off/offended by the aggressive, in your face sexuality, that young girls display these days. ‘It is a tale WOMEN like to tell themselves’ that all men love baboon-like sexual behaviour from women.

I sense Agent P is amongst this group of men, as am i.

You may defend feminism, but all i see is Cause And Effect.
Like i said before, feminism (as we currently know it) has a lot of explaining to do…

I will however, agree that feminism (in its absolute true and pure sense) was hijacked decades ago by the same PTB we are fighting on other fronts. You can almost tell the precise date of this hijack. That was the day the slogans morphed from “Equal Rights” to exclusive “Women’s Rights”. All of a sudden it wasn’t about achieving equal rights to men, it was about women securing superior rights to men. The change in direction from equal to superior is also what sparked the whole “Battle Of The Sexes” as colloquially termed.

The cause was feminism and the effect was the disintegration of the family unit.

Divide and conquer.

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PaperIsPoverty December 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm

If your source for “feminism” is Cosmo (!!), no wonder we disagree. If you want to know why these girls & women are objectifying themselves you could start by reading an actual feminist analysis of why this is happening. It is not “always the oppressive man’s fault”; they talk a great deal about advertising, pornography and other profit motives that encourage objectification and self-objectification. Similarly, it’s economic factors that brought about this recent increase in the college sex industry. And if it’s due to economics, then it’s not about female sexual expression and has nothing to do with the Sexual Revolution.

One thing we do agree on is that any social movement is subject to being hijacked and co-opted by anyone who wants to claim the label. E.g. the Rockefellers and others supported / co-opted feminism in the 70s partly because having more women work outside the home was a good way to mitigate the decline in standard of living due to inflation. More dual-income families and better pay for women helped to hide the pernicious effects of going off the gold standard.

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Forrest Gump December 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm

A person can not go through life blaming everything on everybody but themself.

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Jaded Dude December 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Yeah, women as victims, the meme of the millennium….yawn

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Bruce C. December 5, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I don’t know much about the realities of this situation, but there is another motivating factor besides desperation that could be involved here that hasn’t been mentioned. Besides the “sex business” being a viable way to make money, it is also one of the those classic grey market cash businesses that can enable one to avoid the usual legal snare nets that could be used to force student loan payments (e.g., wage garnishments, confiscation of tax refunds, a poor credit rating, etc.), so it’s a way to get out of the whole student loan mess since bankruptcy is not an option. However, whether or not many women ever think of that and actually act on it I have no idea.

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PaperIsPoverty December 6, 2012 at 12:42 am

Not only would black market activity avoid garnishments, but it could allow graduates to report a very low official income in order to escape debt payments under Income-Based Repayment. And if their low-paying day job was in government or at a non-profit, and they kept that day job for 10 years, their student debt would then be forgiven in toto. In the US, anyway.

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Ron McDonald December 7, 2012 at 3:18 am

The porn industry has helped to put scores of young American females thru college. Hence, once they graduate they quickly sign-up to work for firms such as Goldman Sachs, where they can do unto OTHERS as was done to them …particularly in the area of the gluteus maximus if you catch my drift.
Anyhoo; isn’t the U.S. economy itself built upon a steady diet of sex & murder? OK, AND war crimes, torture, lack of rule of law, massive financial fraud, drone bombings of innocent children, illegal foreign invasions, suspension of habeus corpus, kidnappings, rape, plunder, theft ….(tell me when to stop…)

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Silver & Gold Update December 7, 2012 at 8:25 am

Imagine the day when US becomes a third world while Asia becomes the superpower.

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Rachael December 9, 2012 at 2:34 am

I can imagine; it isn’t hard to do.

I can also imagine the young people of the US who, after realizing that the gamble of trading their future debt-slavery for the right to go to school has failed (basically to borrow the bribe for the gate-keepers of upper level jobs in society who do their level best to roadblock anyone seeking to be something more than a rube without paying the toll), just giving up and emigrating to those societies that offer more equality.

The great brain drain the the rest of the world experienced as the best, brightest, and most highly motivated individuals sought our shores for opportunity will eventually reverse and all too soon, our biggest export in the future could be our own best, brightest, and most highly motivated citizens…..

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ElvisDog December 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I don’t have the same moral outrage about prostitution as many do. If someone is an adult and is under no compulsion, why can’t they voluntarily exchange sex for money? When someone goes to get a massage, it’s basically the same thing – an exchange of physical contact for money. Sex just takes the same idea one step further. The puritanical viewpoint on sex is still very prevalent in this country.

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R Davis December 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm

“one sector proving resilient” you say.

ARE YOU SURE ?
ALSO – IT”S NOT A NICE THING TO CLAIM, WITHOUT PROOF.

COULD IT JUST BE YOUR FERTILE IMAGINATION ?

And who may I ask is using the “student” sex workers -

THE BRITISH ECONOMY IS IN THE GUTTER & EVERYONE IS BROKE.
There are still men & women with enough money to pay for sex ?
The professional people & the elite no doubt – they always have money, even while others are starving.
Go Figure.

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anon December 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

What’s interesting from reading the story from Mr. Rubino & all the comments, is that no one has made the connection that the high costs of tertiary education in the western world, are the consequences of the actions of monetary inflation by governments & their agents the central banks.

Tertiary education in the Western world has, over the past 30 years, increased far above the rate of “official” government CPI figures, and in some years far above Shadow Govt. Statistics CPI figures.

In other words, the beneficiaries of this monetary inflation, through an increase in salaries & wages far above the rate of CPI have been the chancellors, managers, professors, doctorates, tutors, and staff of tertiary education institutions, who have been provided this monetary largesse with the fuel of ever increasing student debt & various assorted govt. programs to feed the tertiary education sector.

So, it is rather ironic that to continue feeding this bloated & inflated tertiary education sector of the economy, with higher & higher salaries & wages, that student debt now has to be funded via student’s having to show their “skin” in the game…literally.

I wonder if Professor Ron Roberts, the author of the study from Kingston University appreciates the irony here. Can he not see, that the bloat of salaries for professors like him, which for many of the last 30 years has been far above the rate of CPI, are as much a cause of this problem, as the the evil “people with money” that he cites as being the problem? In other words, the problem is the high cost of tertiary education, far above the increase in CPI both “official” & SGS, not evil “people with money”.

Just based on this one observation alone, his study hardly qualifies as an objective analysis of all the issues pertaining to this very serious & sad state of affairs.

Does anyone seriously believe that this trend in students selling themselves to fund their tertiary education would exist, if the cost of tertiary education had remained at or below the rate of CPI over the past 30 years, instead of blasting past it year after year for those 3 decades?

Stop scapegoating evil “people with money” or any people for that matter, and start looking at the real issue here i.e. the cost of tertiary education is way too high.

I find that Professor Ron Roberts ought to thank his lucky stars, that students would put themselves into this position, so that he can keep earning the salary he earns. If he truly is so concerned for these students, then he should put his money where his mouth is, and take a massive pay cut to help in alleviating the real problem: the cost of tertiary education is too high. Otherwise, STFU, because you are only talking your own book.

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Stripper PhD December 16, 2012 at 3:05 am

Spot on! It seems that the US is following suit. However, it’s hard to tell if a) recently there really has been a larger than average influx of new US student sex workers, b) people finally started paying attention, or c) both of these. Oh, and it’s not just students. Plenty of staff, faculty etc, also resort to sex work to make ends meet too!

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Daniel Faith March 18, 2014 at 7:47 am

It`s terrible. Young people can just ruin their life doing such things! Sure we can understand them, now it is so difficult to make money for living. As we see such people earn good moneybut there is a question: is it possible for them to start a family? And it is evident that they will not do this job for all their life.They are supposed to do this for some years, but what is then? They are not young and energetic anymore and they have no other skills. I hope that all those hopeless people will gain a common sense. And find opportunities to make money and study. Moreover there are some sources http://www.helponessay.com/ that can make their life study. All in all it is better to make smaller steps making money and getting education but to have a bright future.

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