Should universities do more to help stop students from becoming call girls in Colorado Springs? Now more than ever, university students work in the sex industry to survive. In 2018, the National Student Money Survey released findings that at least 4% of students engage in sex work during their time at uni. Publications like Vice jumped on these figures, pairing them with the reported 7% of students who participate in medical trials and running stories along the lines of “one in ten uni students sell their bodies in the USA.

Are poorer students more likely to be drawn into becoming escorts in Colorado Springs? The fact is, students are money-poor but rich in another commodified resource: the youthful body. Young people, particularly those under the financial strain of supporting an academic career, are exploiting the objectification of young bodies to put food on the table. In all probability, the National Student Money Survey figures only scratch the surface of this issue. Not only are they two years out of date, but they won’t account for Brexit and corona induced uncertainties, or the seemingly unstoppable rise of OnlyFans. OnlyFans, a content subscription service, is by now mainstream and provides a relatively safe and lucrative option for many sex workers.

But should universities be doing more to curb this trend? Well, to reframe the question, should unis do more to prevent student poverty? Yes, they should, students who feel they should keep up with peers by working in Colorado Springs massage parlors. Wealth inequality is a systematic problem in a High Education industry which, since the inception and steady increase of tuition fees in the last two decades, seems increasingly bent on transaction arising and commercializing the on-campus experience. In that sense, an environment which forces students into sex work, and makes them feel as if they have no other option, is dangerous and troubling.

Is there still a stigma attached to girls who work for Colorado escort agencies? Institutions could and should do more to support financially unstable students by increasing bursaries, grants, and subsidies. However, sex work in itself is not an inherently bad thing. Stigma about sex work, and policies that penalize it, do more harm than good. As Rachel Watters, the women student officer for the National Union of Students said, “We know that the criminalization of sex work does not stop sex work from happening, but only pushes it further underground, entrapping students further in poverty and isolation.”

Are Colorado Universities aware that a least 5% of their female students are engaged as sex workers? In many universities, this criminalization and penalization stem not just from laws, but from their so-called morality clauses. These clauses appear in a university’s code of conduct, and, according to many student activists, are often intentionally vaguely worded. In a real-world-context, university administrations generally use morality clauses to expel those the institution deems undesirable, and those who tarnish its image. Such actions seem more to do with protecting the university itself, and its financial interests, than protecting its most vulnerable students. Student safety should be the top priority. This includes protecting the impoverished from making choices that aren’t choices at all. No one should feel forced into endangering themselves to survive. However, every institution’s priorities should also include protecting and supporting the existing sex worker community in the university. Of course, escorts in Colorado Springs is a valid choice and a lucrative career for many. No one should be ashamed of sex work, and many choose it due to its potential for flexible hours and career freedom. It is important to state that sex workers are not responsible for the various hazards to the physical and mental well-being they encounter. It is hypocritical for society to shun a group which they actively create. Stigma and morality clauses are often both responsible for danger to sex workers. As a vulnerable and rapidly growing group, student sex workers must be heard and treated fairly. They deserve the same respect and compassion as any other member of the student body.