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XXX news: “Student sex work (prostitution, escort, striptease and other sexual services) is gaining more and more public attention,” reported a group of four scholarship holders at the Studienkolleg zu Berlin (Berlin Centre of Studies) on May 18th at the Berlin Branden-burgische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
According to their international research project, called Nebenjob: Prostitution (Second job: prostitution), one out of three among the 3200 university students surveyed in Berlin would be seriously considering doing sex work. This is much more than those in Paris and in Kiev respectively by around 4 and 15 percentage points, although it is worth of remark that final figures will be available by the end of August 2011. Similar numbers have been published by the German tabloid Bild, which recently announced 5000 of the 140,000 Berlin students to be ‘XXX’ workers, with one in 27 (3.7%) of those living in the red-light district actually already engaged in the sex industry.
For the overall 3500 students who filled in the Studienkolleg’s questionnaire, main motivating factors to sell sexual services would be excessively high university fees and financial hardship in general. Prostitution is widely acknowledged as a ‘simple’ means for quick alluring incomes: “It’s possible that because educational reforms have increased student workloads, they have less time to earn money. Coupled with higher student fees, in this instance, leads students into prostitution” Eva Blumenschein, one of the survey’s authors, said. As a matter of the fact, 30% of those declared pro-sex workers appear to be already stricken by debts, almost double the percentage of those not willing; moreover only 50% of them get financial help from relatives, compared to 65% of the rest of the student population. Eventually, important but less immediate concerns for starting such a career seem to be the need for admiration and searching for adventure.
It is true that prostitution wages can reach £2000-5000 a week, but they entail severe health hazards such as sexually transmitted infections and violence, as well as social and psychological drawbacks, the study pointed out. In fact, even if it apparently seems to be an easy “job” to make money quickly, conversely it might become a dangerous threshold from which you might not bounce back in your life. And often even the so-called normal common people are most likely to be trapped in: open-mindedness, appeal or seriousness have amazingly revealed not to be trenchant distinctions at all, a psychological test linked to the present research carried out.
Another astonishing outcome of the German review concerns gender, since both men and women’s student prostitution rates were revealed to be almost the same: ‘we were expecting a higher female percentage’ therefore “we have prejudice as well”, admitted the Studienkolleg researcher Felix Betzler.
According to another study, the vast majority of those considering a sex job are 26-years-old, often in a steady relationship (52.3%), with heterosexuals as the largest group, accounting for 49% of the total, followed by bisexuals (37.8%) and homosexuals (19.3%); most of them mainly use internet to find their clients.
If you are tempted to relate these figures to the fact that prostitution in Berlin is legal, also being such a famous city for its red-light areas, you might be underrating that, conversely, it deals with a fast-growing very global trend. For example, much before the findings in question, an English 2007 pioneer research project called Sex work and students (Roberts et al) had provided extraordinary evidence of the association between students participation in sex work and pitting economic pressure related to university fees, carrying out over 10% of a 130 undergraduates sample in the south of England to be privy of other students involved in the sex industry in order to support themselves financially. Even not going so far, just a few days ago the University of Arkansas in US claimed to have found that more and more highly educated and affluent women are increasingly entering prostitution. They are not forced, rather choosing it ‘for many reasons that people enter the conventional job market – money, stability, autonomy and even job satisfaction’ said Jennifer Hafer, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Business at that University.
It deals with numbers alarmingly ever more similar to those in some African countries such as Zimbawe, though with the fundamental difference that there, sadly, many do not have any real alternatives. Thus, once people decide to study in order not to be on the streets: now it seems to happen the exact contrary due to new unendurable educational policy. However, it could be also because today sex business appears far more close and ‘trendy’ than in the past. For example, being an ‘escort’ or a gigolo, and using a webcam while staying comfortably in your home maybe does not sound too much as prostitution. Anyway, it is an activity that is emerging as one of the distinctive choices of freedom made by the future ruling class of the so-called developed countries. What about you? Post your precious comments!