Once a prostitute. Now a professor. - Macleans.ca

Once a prostitute. Now a professor.

Regina prof’s revelation highlights students in the sex trade


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.


Once a prostitute. Now a professor.

  1. In the early 90’s I was employed at the Regina Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic and I was a sessional instructor at the university. At the clinic, I encountered a client who was a university colleague (professor). She was also a sex trade worker – escort services. She stated she did not need the funds but “this was the easiest and quickest way to get a sexual encounter”. She denied the health risks and she denied this could cause problems should a client be someone who recognized her. The risk appeared to be part of the appeal. Interesting to read your report on this topic.

  2. Well high tuition how else are students to make money. Unfortunately McDonald doesn’t pay that well. This isn’t an excuse but a possible reason.

  3. So? Let’s not ruminate on her past.As long as she performed no criminal acts or hurt no one, her past is relevant only in that it informs her personality and may inform her academic interests.

    I met ‘escorts’ in class while obtaining bachelor’s and masters degrees. Very beautiful and very bright. They did not, however, do business on the street and their clients were recommended by other businessmen or escorts. A couple of them had children. The income was good and they didn’t have sex until being with a client a few times; and even then, not always. Sometimes they just dated and the client just wanted to relax and talk.

  4. Part II

    Why does no one consider the number of male students and professors who may avail themselves of an escort’s services – I guess they have degrees, too…. no?? What about (bored)female students who used to ‘buy’ sex with fancy cars, dinners, movies, and other gifts the guys wanted?

    If the subject is deemed that important, at least make the discussion more balanced. I think a lot of the tittering and tut-tutting represents a form of envy on the part of some people. Gee… some people may be “getting more” than I am.

  5. …and then we wonder why our politicians are such wh**es!

    It’s sad when kids in India and African countries are selling themselves (or their parents) to “tourists” and various UN/NGOs and “businessmen” from Canada to make their daily bread. But it’s tragic when a young Canadian girl who’s got the intelligence to aspire to higher education sells her body to some old perv to “pay her tuition”.

    No, there’s no way in Hades there’s ANY excuse for Canadian girls and women such as this “professor of good times” for selling their bodies for “tuition”. Most of them have been victims of incest and perverted sexual encounters in their preteens. Why not cut the bullcrap and look to the real cause for this ugly trend!

  6. What’s the big deal? All English Profs are perverts (both men and women, especially the early modernists). As soon as I read the headline, I thought: “Must be in English”, and . . . sure enough. Not but what Classics Profs make even better hookers (and just because the males are in on the game). Philosphers, however, are another story (they think that “head” has got something to do with syllogisms). Womens Studies? Forget it. Their idea of o+ral s+ex is talking about it. Mercifully, the English canon is there to keep up “the great tradition.”

  7. Awkward, she was my English teacher last semester