Student sells virginity to pay fees
A New Zealand teenager who auctioned her virginity online for £20,000 to raise tuition money did not break any laws but it might be risky for her to follow through on the deal, police warned.
The anonymous 19-year-old student offered her virginity to the highest bidder on www.ineed.co.nz under the name "Unigirl", saying she would use the money to pay for her tuition. She said in a post that more than 30,000 people had viewed her ad and more than 1,200 had made bids before she accepted the offer of more than 45,000 New Zealand dollars.
Unlike similar New Zealand websites, bidding and correspondence between buyers and sellers on the ineed site is private, so it is not known what bids Unigirl's offer received.
Website owner Ross McKenzie said the site's policy is that as long as an ad is legal and does not offend the general standards of society, "it is OK." He confirmed Unigirl was a member on the site. Offering sexual services in print ads and online is legal in New Zealand.
National police spokesman Jon Neilson said no law appeared to have been breached.
But "we would suggest it's not a safe practice", Neilson said. "There are definitely issues of personal safety" in using chat rooms, social dating networks and other Internet sites that can be used to arrange meetings between strangers.
Catherine Healy of the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective, a group that represents sex workers on health and rights issues, said the teenager had entered into sex work by offering herself online.
"The amount of money is absolutely huge -- and that puts her under enormous pressure to perform all sorts of acts," she said.
But Healy said it was also possible that the successful bidder wanted to "save" the teenager and would not ask her to have sex.
She said the teenager would still have the right to refuse to have sex with the bidder if she changed her mind, and that the bidder could claim his money back.