An expert view; youth workers have their say

The youth workers programme ‘Connexions’ is a company based in Luton which specialises in assisting young men and women with problems, queries or issues they may encounter in life, ranging from financial to personal. Students in particular, are regular visitors to this establishment, seeking help and advice when they feel unable to turn to other figures of authority in their lives.
I spoke to youth worker Gemma* who concentrates on helping students with any sexual health problems in addition to any financial problems; two of the largest and most common areas youth’s struggle with. I asked Gemma* if anyone had approached her for advice or guidance on breaking their way into the phone sex industry.

“I have never had anyone wanting to discuss working as a phone sex operator in my entire ten year long employment here! People are very vocal concerning their money problems… I have dealt with many young men and women caught up in selling drugs to ease their financial strains and have spoken to quite a few students who have resorted to prostitution… but nothing has ever come up about phone sex”.

I asked Gemma* why she thought that has, as it was fast becoming a very popular and common avenue students are going down.

”Perhaps, logistically speaking, young people wouldn’t need very much help in sourcing work. It seems to be simple enough to secure a job as a phone sex worker, from what I’ve seen online. I have not dealt with anyone struggling to pay bills or what not because their job as a phone sex operator isn’t paying enough”.

When pressed on under what circumstances or conditions a young person may approach a Connexions officer to discuss phone sex, Gemma* was able to express likely situations she may find herself in.

”It boils down to the moral issue. I can image if someone were to approach me to discuss phone sex, it would be to gauge my opinion on the matter; the moral issue behind it all. Perhaps to enquire about the legalities of it all, or even to outright ask if it would be a right or wrong thing to do, would be the most likely circumstances in which someone would come to me to ask about any aspect of phone sex”.

When asked what her response would be, hypothetically speaking Gemma* explained situations were not as black and white as that.

”That is a tricky subject area to discuss. We are here to listen, not to lecture, so I wouldn’t directly tell an individual not to peruse a career in a field just because of my personal opinions, unless it was a potentially dangerous area. I would possibly try to steer them away from that kind of career as there are numerous financial schemes designed to aid young people and particularly students. There are also advisors here who specialise in career guidance and counselling, so young people could do someone they want to do, not what they are resorting to do”.

There are numerous bursary plans, debt cruncher schemes and money management courses available to students across the country. This is in addition to hundreds of career fairs, individual job seekers meetings and vocational classes young people can sign up for, for free. After speaking to Connexions, I have found that although no one has so far openly discussed the matter of phone sex, if the subject were to be broached, the professional stance on the subject would be to gently discourage and to guide students into a new direction.
Youth workers would discuss at length the possibility of becoming a phone sex operator, but would not promote the idea on any level. After conducting the interview with Gemma*,  it seems to be that there is a heavy stance on how to avoid turning to phone sex, as the financial schemes are championed and alternative temporary and full time job roles pushed.
I also spoke to Brook, a sexual health clinic, who also revealed that they had not encountered any issues regarding phone sex, probably because the act of phone sex itself, is all verbal. Brook did however, comment on the fact that if phone sex becomes more prominent in society today and a more sought after avenue for students to peruse, this could encourage individuals to become more promiscuous, although they could not comment on whether this may result in unplanned pregnancies or STI’s as there is no direct correlation on data concerning this.

http://www.brook.org.uk/brook-luton

http://www.youth.luton.gov.uk/13.cfm?p=650

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