Australia’s costly fees drive foreign students into sex work: study

SYDNEY, Nov 10, 2006 (AFP) – The crippling cost of studying in Australia is forcing foreign students to take up risky sex work to make ends meet, a researcher said Friday. A sharp rise in university fees in recent years and visas that restrict international students’ working hours had driven some into illegal prostitution, Sarah Lantz from the University of Melbourne found.

“They were mainly engaged in the high-risk sex industry and that’s largely because they needed huge amounts of money,” said Lantz.

Foreign students must pay the entire cost of their education in Australia with medical degrees, for example, setting them back more than 200,000 dollars (150,000 US), according to government figures.

The study by health researcher Lantz tracked 40 students over four years who were funding higher education by working as prostitutes in Melbourne.

“It’s a very accessible industry for high amounts of money and a relatively short working week as well,” Lantz said.

She said changing attitudes meant many students now viewed working in the sex industry as a viable means of paying for their education.

The study included Australian students but found the situa