The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Escort Agency Targets Freshers Facebook Groups

A Manchester-based escort agency has been targeting freshers using social media

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Incoming first years have been targeted during Welcome Week for recruitment by a Manchester-based escort agency.

The agency, named Golds Girlies, posted dozens of times in a variety of Facebook groups such as ‘Student Jobs Manchester’, ‘Manchester and Salford University students’, ‘Manchester Student Guide’, ‘University of Manchester – Freshers 2013/2014’.

Through their Facebook account, the agency also followed and liked a variety of student pages such as ‘Manchester Freshers 2014-2015’ and ‘UCLan Freshers 2014’.

The messages, aimed at first years, have been posted as recently as the 12th of September and mention the prospect of extra income that employees can earn to support their studies.

In a post to the page ‘University of Manchester – Freshers 2013/2014’, the agency stated that “many of our escorts are students… who enjoy escort work on the side for extra income.”

Other posts describe the criteria for the vacancies as “attractive, charming ladies aged between 18 and 40 with good figures and great personalities.”

The agency also uses the student Facebook groups to advertise the services of their escorts. In one post on the Facebook group ‘Manchester and Salford University Students’ they claim to have “Naughty escorts at great prices” and question whether any students are “Looking for some action tonight?”

On their website Golds Girlies state, “Here at Golds Girls escorts we pride ourselves on running a well renowned top class Manchester escort that is here to cater for your every want need and desire.”

They advertise being on the escort review website ‘Captain 69’. However no trace can be found of them, leading to questions of their legitimacy.

Last Thursday, The Mancunion discovered that all the posts and the Facebook page of the agency had been removed but identical posts were found under the name ‘Saffron Gold’. It remains unclear as to why. Their website, however, still exists.

Siobhan Bourke, Chair of The Riveters, UMSU Women’s Rights Collective, in a statement to The Mancunion, said, “I have recently been made aware of the fact that the escort agency, “Gold’s girlies” has been advertising both their services and jobs with the agency on Facebook pages primarily associated with students. Many of these posts do not mention the nature of the work nor what students will be expected to do.

“Whilst escorts and other forms of sex work should not be stigmatised, it is also important to note that with a 2004 Home Office study revealing that more than 50 per cent of sex workers have been sexually assaulted by clients; abuse and sexual assault are shockingly common in these lines of work.

By deliberately targeting first year students, Gold’s girlies are both exploiting the naïveté of those who are living independently for what is most likely the first time in their lives, and the financial instability of many students. With these factors in play, it is far more likely that the students working for this agency will be coerced and sexually abused when with clients.”

She added further, “I advise people to thoroughly check the job descriptions (and the company offering the jobs) before signing up from any links posted to Facebook or other social media sites. If you are having financial problems, the Students’ Union has a financial advice service or contact the Money Advice Service on 0300 500 5000.”

The activities of the agency sparked mixed reactions from the Students’ Union executive.

Charlotte Cook, General Secretary, said, “There are issues around escort services which emerge every year targeting vulnerable students who struggle with the living costs of university life and seek short term methods to make ends meet.”

Harriet Pugh, Education Officer said, “I would like to stress that for me, whether or not women students choose to become escorts is not, in itself, an issue, neither is it an issue that the organisation is for escorts.

“I would, however, take issue with Gold Girlies if it were exploitative of or abusive towards its workers.”

Escort companies targeting students is not unheard of. Back in 2012, Concrete, the University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper, ran an exposé on the targeting of students on twitter by the escort agency Anglian Escorts.

The Huffington Post UK recently reported that according to the charity English Collective of Prostitutes, not enough is being done to help student sex workers.

The NUS, according to the article, recently launched a joint research project with Swansea University. The project aims to discover how many students have turned to the sex trade and how Universities and Students’ Unions can aid those who turned to the trade.

However the NUS said that “until they have the bigger picture,” they are reluctant to take any action.