The students union of Durham University in England promoted a sex work training course offered by the university in an email to all students and staff, the Independent reported.
“The SU position on students in sex work are [sic] clear: support, informed advice, de-stigmatization and collaboration with expert organizations,” read the email, according to the Independent.
The university brought in the external “Students Involved in the Adult Sex Industry” session in response to student requests, a spokesperson for Durham University told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The spokesperson also said sex work is a “feature” within higher education “across the UK.”
“We are emphatically not seeking to encourage sex work, but we are seeking to provide support to our students,” the spokesperson said. “We make no apologies for working to ensure that Durham is a safe environment for all of our students and staff.”
A sex work course reportedly offered over video conference exists to “support students in a difficulty arising from the reality of rising costs in higher education,” according to student union welfare and liberation officer, Jonah Graham, The Times reported. “Trying to create a scandal from an attempt to support people whose work can make them vulnerable is contemptible.”
The email advertising the course referred to it as a “training opportunity,” and it stated that “student sex workers should not face any barriers to accessing support which is well informed and free from prejudice,” according to the Independent. The “Level 1 Training” for “student sex workers” was advertised as one, hour-long meeting, and the “Level 2 Training,” open to staff, would reportedly last 90 minutes.
“Sex work is degrading, dangerous and exploitative. Uni should have nothing to do with it,” Member of Parliament Diane Abbott said on Twitter.
A similar incident occurred at Leicester University in October. According to the Times, the school offered an online “toolkit” for students involved in prostitution and assured them that “sugar daddies,” working on sex chat lines and selling one’s underwear online are legal activities.
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