Cash-strapped college students turn to sex trade
Escort site flags 'university section' as watchdog warns of marketing strategy to lure young girls
Published 02/12/2012 | 05:00
CASH-strapped university students are turning to the sex-trade to sell themselves for money. Ireland's biggest online escort agency 'Escort Ireland' has set up pages which are solely dedicated to independent escorts in Irish universities on its website.
A page entitled "University College Cork (UCC) Escorts" advertises "independent escorts and escort agencies in University College Cork" and includes pictures of female escorts below a picture and description of the university.
A similar page has also been set up for Queens University in Belfast.
The website also states that student escorts can sometimes be found in Dublin City University (DCU).
When contacted by the Sunday Independent, posing as a man requesting a girl from University College Cork, the agency replied by directing the newspaper to the thumbnail photos on the page which is dedicated to the college.
Elsewhere, the website states: "Dublin 9 is also home to one of Ireland's biggest universities, DCU (Dublin City University), and, for this reason, student escorts are sometimes based here."
One Dublin-based student on the site describes herself as "Angel Angie" and quotes her current occupation as "university student". She is based in the Sandyford area of Dublin and was last active on the site in recent days. Another attractive blonde student calls herself 'Lily', and her profile states: "Lily is an escort with a penchant for the finer things in life. In her spare time, this blonde bombshell enjoys socialising and is studying fashion at university which helps to explain her magnificent taste and style."
It goes on: "Lily is sure to turn heads on an evening out, something which always goes down well as she loves to be the centre of attention and any man who is willing to pamper her will enjoy her company, wherever you happen to go."
On a separate website, a Waterford-based college student (pictured in a matching pink underwear set) states: "Dear Gentlemen, I am a university student who has a wild side. My pictures are 100 per cent genuine and updated."
A spokesperson for Ruhama Ireland told the Sunday Independent: "What is worrying is that this escort website is using universities in Ireland as a marketing strategy and has the potential to lure young girls who may be under financial pressure into the sex trade.
"We would caution and warn any young woman who would consider going into the sex trade to support herself financially.
"The sex trade is about violence, abuse and nobody comes out of it unharmed. So we would be concerned and this is a worrying development that a website that advertises prostitution is using universities in their marketing strategy and has a potential to lure vulnerable young women into the sex trade.
"People should not be deceived by these websites, and it is a fact that not everything that is presented in these websites is true. These may not be students. And most may be linked to organised criminal gangs. So we would caution and warn any young girl who would be lured by this."
Meanwhile, in Britain, the man uncovered as running a "sex for tuition fees" website has been named after being secretly filmed.
Last week, The London Independent revealed how young women were lured to meetings with the man through the SponsorAScholar.co.uk website.
An undercover reporter recorded a meeting with the man who told her that sponsorship was dependent on a "high level of sexual intimacy" with men in two-hour sessions in hotel rooms up to four times a term.
The man filmed by the Independent was said last night to go under the name Mark Lancaster, but when contacted by a television programme refused to speak about the Sponsor a Scholar scheme. He had previously claimed to have arranged for 1,400 young women to win sponsorship.
Since being exposed, the SponsorAScholar website has been taken down.
It had claimed to offer students up to £15,000 (€18,500) a year for meetings with wealthy businessmen in search of "discreet adventures".