A recent police investigation into an Internet-based prostitution ring in Zhejiang Province, China has revealed that a growing number of the escorts available are young, female college students.
The Xinhua News Agency has previously noted that illegal pornographic operations in China are increasingly targeting college campuses.
One owner of an Internet-based prostitution website in Hangzhou has earned vast profits by introducing young, female college students to wealthy older men.
Whilst the anonymity of the customers is protected, the girls make their contact details and photographs available at the click of a link. The agency earns around $150 dollars for each transaction and the students are charged a $50 introduction fee.
Each student has their own reasons for turning to prostitution. Many are from low income families and send the money back home. They usually tell their parents they have a job at a hotel or sports club.
Others, on the other hand, use the cash to pay for their education and some simply enjoy the prestige that comes with being able to afford the latest luxuries.
Chinese education authorities take a dim view and blame the growing trend on the ‘degeneration of morale on campus.’
One lecturer complained that ‘in society, people just want money. As long as they have money and fame, as long as they have the material things they chase after, they don’t care how they get them.’
‘Some say that the Chinese people today believe in nothing. I say that’s not true, because they do believe in money. They will do anything to get money and better living conditions. Some of them are really hard up. There are people in this category, too.’
Chinese nationals who are studying overseas are appalled at the idea their former classmates at home are selling sexual services.
Dr. William Lan from the Texas Technology University College of Education said he learned news on the internet. ‘I hope this is not common. The reasons behind this are quite complicated, and some of the students could be driven by poverty.’
‘But I feel the most dangerous thing in China is that people look down on poverty but not prostitution. To them there’s nothing wrong with becoming a prostitute, but people may laugh at you if you are poor. Such a trend is really worrying.’
Regarding the subject of prostitution involving female college students, Profession Hu Xingdou from Beijing Institute of Technology said, “Of course students from some schools sell their bodies in hotels.
This may have something to do with financial difficulties in their families, or the individual’s desire to spend money to dress up, so she needs money. It is true that the trends in society have an influence on them.
But I think our students, including both men and women, should respect themselves and make money through upright channels.
They should have the right perspective regarding money and should not seek that little bit of economic interest unscrupulously. I think the students should have this mentality.”
Mr. Liu, a physiatrist at a university in Beijing, said, “Indeed there are such [prostitutes] among college students in China. Some of them may be from remote areas in China, and their families may have difficulty supporting their tuition and living expenses.
Some of these students may make this choice. This is normal. However, in the end, the price they pay is huge.”
Ms. Song Meiya, senior editor of the Beijing-based Chinese Women’s Press, said, “Of course there are all kinds of degenerate trends in society, which have contributed to many female college students [becoming prostitutes].
For example, they have to dress in a certain way. During job interviews there are so many requirements on them. There are more and more requirements and pressure on women nowadays.
“What can they do to deal with the pressure? They are giving up a lot, including their bodies. So I think when women are giving their bodies away, it is also a sign of society’s choice.”
Reports in recent years say that many wealthy men are looking to college campuses to buy pleasure. They believe that female students are well educated, “safe and clean,” and look good when they go out together.
Some even pay for college students to be their long-term mistresses. Song said, “Men use their power and money to purchase sex as a material thing…They treat women as merchandise.”
She asked who is more responsible for the situation: the prostitutes, or those who buy their services?
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