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Students at the University of Leicester will be offered advice if they turn to sex work to earn cash.
The university sent a new guide to staff entitled "Student Sex Work Toolkit for Staff in Higher Education”.
The guide explains some things that staff can do to support students who engage in sex work, reports MirrorOnline.
The document describes that “sex work” covers a wide variety of different services, including escorting, stripping, and using paid online platforms such as OnlyFans.
The term “sex work” was chosen because it helps to break the stigma surrounding the industry.
Authors of the document Gaynor Trueman, Saskia Hagelberg, and Teela Sanders also advised staff about how they should support students, stressing that they should not be judgmental and make sure that a student involved in sex work is “positively supported”.
They add that staff should also not “assume the student wants to leave the sex industry”.
They also advise that staff should not put any reference to student sex workers in files or involve the police.
It was revealed in 2019 that as many as 1 in 25 students engage in sex work at some point in their university lives, and 1 in 5 had considered it.
This could be anything from escorting to selling used underwear, online platforms, or phone sex lines.
Damningly, a recent survey examining the student sex work industry found that only 15 per cent of participants said that their students’ unions and universities were providing adequate support.
The University of Leicester claims that students often become sex workers to provide some extra income for the cost of living, such as rent, food, and improving their quality of life.
Some students are also believed to enter the sex industry to help reduce the debt they will build up from studying.
The guidelines are aimed at ensuring that students who do choose to enter the sex industry are safe and can receive practical non-judgemental support if they need it.
The guidelines say that staff should “ensure student is safe within their work”, and “not discipline someone for being involved in sex work.”
The pamphlet has been well-received by the sex worker community, with one twitter user saying: “If I had a daughter considering sex work I would them to know how to operate as safely as possible.
“I am a sex worker and appreciate the University of Leicester for taking our safety seriously.”
Another user typed: “When I was a student doing sex work there was no aid from the university. A toolkit like what the University of Leicester has would have been so valuable to me.”
But it has also sparked controversy, with another user commenting: "It blew my mind to learn that the University of Leicester has written a guide to sex work. As a career prospect for their students. Why are universities so keen to support prostitution?”
They were not alone, with a second person tweeting: "The University of Leicester is 'supportive of students who earn a living through sex work.' Be sure to send your children there.”
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