Even in recession-worn Ireland with its booming dog-washing courses and rampant unemployment I never thought I'd read that students were turning to prostitution.
Yet according to an article in the Irish Independent, CorkStudentNews.com and the Union of Students in Ireland, Irish students are turning to escorting and sugar babying to help pay their way through college and ultimately life.
"We've been hearing more and more about students having to go to these lengths [prostituting] to pay for their education and I think it's a shocking indictment of the state of the country," the Union of Students in Ireland's President, Gary Redmond, told the newspaper, confirming rumours that this was starting to be a problem in Dublin.
This isn't actually new, though. I was surprised to dig up an article in the Irish Independent written in 2007 which was about more or less the same thing.
"Escort agencies are encouraging students to take up work as prostitutes," the daily newspaper found.
"The Irish Independent has learned that many students are turning to prostitution to fund increasingly costly college lifestyles, in some cases estimated at more than €7,000 a year." If this was starting to be a problem in 2007, I guess it's only logical that it's rearing its head again when times really have gone bust.
This latest phenomenon is pretty grim reading for a student-body already suffering from seeming uncontrollable student emigration and a mounting fees crisis.
It's an unfortunate thing to happen, but when people are desperate for money, they'll do anything.
What the articles really highlight, though, is the urgency of the problem facing Irish students today.
When you hear of Irish students launching a 'policy document', such as the one the USi has tabled to fight student unemployment, you tend to think of of unemployment and emigration as a long term thing, but for many students, graduating Irish universities and colleges in 2010 or 2011, the problem is right around the corner.
Hopefully those forced to leave Ireland will at least be able to do so without having had to prostitute themselves to pay for the flights.
When you have to say that sentence, it's a fairly bad state of affairs indeed.
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