Once a prostitute. Now a professor.

Regina prof’s revelation highlights students in the sex trade

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Photo by bandita on Flickr

Photo by bandita on Flickr

A University of Regina professor who worked as an escort when she was a master’s student many years ago has shared her story with CBC News.

Jean Hillabold, now an English instructor, says she’s speaking out because she wants to draw attention to the debate over sex trade regulation.

But in doing so, she’s also highlighted the fact that some students and university graduates work in prostitution, erotic dancing and pornography to pay their bills.

A recent survey published in Student BMJ reported that one tenth of British medical students say they know a fellow student who worked in the sex industry. Similarly, a survey of 315 undergraduates at a London university found a quarter of students knew someone working in sex while studying, reported The Telegraph. A pan-European study of 3,200 students last year found that four per cent of them had worked as prostitutes, erotic dancers or done sex work online.

Tamara O’Doherty, an instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley, told The Georgia Straight that when she interviewed 39 sex workers in Vancouver, one-third reported having degrees.

All this suggests that Hillabold isn’t likely the only Canadian professor with prostitution in her past.