Durham University offers its students training classes on Zoom on how to be a prostitute.
The University of the Russell Group insists it’s simply trying to teach its students to make informed choices, as they’ve noticed an “emerging trend” of selling sexual favors.
A fully booked session announced by the university’s sorority that was held via Zoom last night was billed as “an interactive course exploring the challenges student sex workers may face.”
It comes after a poll of 3,200 students last year found that four per cent of British students – nearly one in 20 – used sex work to fund their courses, while one in ten say they would do it in an ’emergency’.
That was double that of 2017, according to the Save The Student website.
The University of the Russell Group insists it is simply trying to teach its students to make informed choices as they have noticed an ’emerging trend’ of selling sexual favors (stock photo)
With a total student population of 2.38 million, this could mean that more than 95,000 students across Britain are currently engaged in sex work.
Of the student sex workers, 28 percent said they’d slept with or been tutored, while 71 percent had sent intimate photos, put them on a webcam, or sold images of themselves on subscription clip-sharing sites such as OnlyFans.
A Durham University student told The Times: ‘This could create a real problem, making it part of university culture and working in the sex industry a normalized activity…
“Everyone I’ve spoken to is quite disgusted that adult sex worker training is being promoted by our own student union…
“It suggests that being an adult sex worker is also an everyday activity and is portrayed as an official DSU position.”
And the university has received numerous complaints about the classes.
A fully booked session announced by the university’s sorority held via Zoom last night was billed as “an interactive course exploring the challenges sex workers may face.”
Higher and Secondary Education Minister Michelle Donelan has accused the university of “legitimizing a dangerous industry” and failing in its duty to protect students.
And Durham isn’t the only prestigious university to show support for sex workers in recent times.
Last month, Leicester University told students it was legal to make people pay to watch them strip and provide services to sugar daddys, highlighting the only three illegal activities — including soliciting on the street or running a brothel.
Ministers fear that promoting sex worker training could normalize the exploitation of students.
And the Ministry of Education said universities should help students who have come through difficult times by doing everything they can to avoid working in the sex industry.
An Official ‘Student Sex Work Toolkit’ published by Leicester University for students and staff in December
Young people can make hundreds of dollars a month relatively easily on sex websites by selling pornographic images and videos of themselves.
Separate figures released last year also showed that 500,000 students have now signed up to the Seeking Arrangement website seeking “sugar babies” — typically accepting money or gifts from wealthy elderly clients in exchange for intimacy.
Last year, a Cambridge Students’ Union member distributed flyers at his annual conference making the controversial claim that “not all sex work is offensive.”
In June 2020 Bristol sorority pledged ‘the stigma attached to it’ [to] sex work” and said it would “lobby the university to take an explicit non-exclusive stance against students working in the sex industry,” as well as distributing information packs on campus.
Goldsmiths, the student union of the University of London, claimed in 2015 that sex work is work. . . exchanging money for labour, like any other job’.
While Brighton made it clear it “doesn’t promote sex work as an option for students,” the student union organized “freshmanship scholarships” from the universities of Sussex and Brighton for the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project Sussex (Swop)
In 2014, the Edinburgh University student union claimed it would adopt “zero tolerance for hooker phobia and include hooker phobia in its safe space policy.”
UCL’s student unions, York, Manchester, Plymouth and Sheffield Hallam have all supported sex work in recent years, following a 2018 National Union of Students briefing that offered “solidarity with student sex workers.”
That same year, student trade shows at the universities of Sussex and Brighton went one step further, even setting up booths for the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project Sussex (Swop), which distributed free condoms.
While Brighton made it clear it “doesn’t promote sex work as an option for students,” Professor Alison Phipps, who teaches gender studies at Sussex University, thanked the charity for its “great work.”
Durham University said it acted responsibly by advising students on how to stay safe in sex work, after Higher and Secondary Education Secretary Michelle Donelan said she was “deeply concerned” about the move.
Durham University said the training was to ensure students were safe and was brought in at the request of “a small number of concerned students” in recent years.
A spokesperson says: ‘We do not want to encourage sex work, but we do want to offer support to our students.
‘We don’t judge, we listen, support and give practical help.
“We run many courses for students and staff on topics from mental health and wellness to drug and alcohol awareness.
“The aim is to ensure that social stigma does not prevent students who may be vulnerable or at risk from receiving the support they need and are entitled to.”
The spokesperson added: ‘We make no apologies for working to ensure Durham is a safe environment for all our students and staff.
“We are deeply disappointed with the way the intentions and contents of this session have been misinterpreted.”