students working in the sex industry to afford university and working flexibly around their studies is not a new concept. in fact, there are up to 70,000 student sex workers in the UK, and 20% of all students have considered it.
since the start of the pandemic, popular platforms such as OnlyFans have seen a 75% increase, with up to 170,000 new users each day. we know for a fact that the past year has been enormously difficult financially for a lot of students across the country. students who relied on part time and zero-hour contracts have struggled, and so it is likely the amount of student sex workers at Kingston has risen.
often, sex workers already belong to marginalised minority groups. the stigma surrounding sex work is undeniable, and so we understand and recognise that most students will not feel comfortable sharing this part of their life with others. despite this, we want our student sex workers to feel safe and supported by us.
as an exciting part of women’s history month, the union is releasing a podcast miniseries about being a sex worker and how to be an ally, speaking to some amazing individuals and organisations with fab advice, info and resources. the series will be continuing into April, with episodes available on all major podcast streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Apple, you can view the page here: Union Speaks (buzzsprout.com)
while we think a podcast would help educate students and give valuable advice and insight to sex workers and allies, we think we can do more to further support our student sex workers. we are taking a stance as a union to oppose the Nordic model. the idea of the model is that the buying of sex is criminalised, but the selling remains legal - seen in countries such as Sweden, France, Ireland, Iceland etc. whilst the bill was intended to protect sex workers, the reality of client criminalisation has unfortunately done the opposite, and created a much more dangerous environment for sex workers. to find out more, check out this fab page by SWARM that explains it.
the Nordic model is due to be discussed for its second reading in parliament soon, and so as a union, we are writing to Ed Davey MP to urge him to oppose. if you would like your name added to it, please email us.
we have compiled a list of helpful resources below that can provide support, advice and alerts to student sex workers.