Student Pages ran ads for brothels. And they don't care.

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Student Pages, the phone directory which is distributed nationally to students, is carrying listings for brothels within its sauna and solariums section. The brothels, which operate within massage parlours, sit alongside legitimate health clubs and sauna-solariums in the listings. London Student research shows that outfits such as the Omega Health Club, Streatham Sauna, and College Sauna also make prostitutes available to customers. These findings are embarrassing for students unions which distribute the publication widely, at freshers fairs and in college buildings.

Female London Student reporters phoned these saunas and tried to book appointments for massages. They were turned down on the grounds that the saunas did not provide services for women. A lady who answered the phone at College Sauna in Camden Town referred our reporter to a legitimate health club saying "We don’t have the facilities they have, you know like a pool or anything, you’d better try elsewhere". Male reporters then went into the saunas in person to establish whether their ‘men only’ policies were because of the sex on offer.

What happened when they visited College Sauna, which is only 400 yards away from the large UCL halls of residence on Camden Road, and the Omega Health Club on Kentish Town Road, is detailed opposite. Our reporters entered both establishments and were offered sexual ‘services’ costing from £30 to £70.

Student Pages is run out of an office in Edinburgh, with its advertising sales based in London. Initial calls made to the Scottish office revealed that the company did not know about the brothels which were listed in the London edition of the publication. It is not known whether Student Pages for other cities also carry such listings. London Student then received a call from Publishing Director, Colin Taggart. Mr Taggart was incredulous when told that his directory had been carrying brothels listings. But he refused to condemn the practice, instead saying "Stripping is well known as a valuable source of employment for students. Grants are being cut, times are hard, not everyone wants to work at Burger King or pulling pints. This actually boosts students’ income. I mean, say you’re a young student, looking for employment in the sex industry, then you could use the listings as a valuable reference." When asked about the moral implications of circulating a directory carrying such advertisements, Mr Taggart said that he was more worried about the ramifications of carrying cigarette advertising. He said "We only carry cigarette ads in the Irish editions, not in the UK. That’s because the bloody Irish are peasants really. Irish Student Unions take cigarette advertising so we do too. Overall though, putting cigarette adverts in a student publication is not good for public relations. I don’t want to be seen as someone who’s pushing fags."

Mr Taggart then went on to say that he liked to antagonise the politically correct lobby in order to attract publicity. He said that Student Pages carried advertising for McDonalds ("They’re allegedly destroying the rainforests), and also the British Army. ("Everybody knows they are sexist, racist homophobes").

When asked if he would carry listings for these known brothels in the future, Mr Taggart said that he probably wouldn’t. He did however show an interest in advertising with London Student saying that he’d like to raise his company’s profile. He said "Maybe we could sponsor the sex issue. Sort of ‘Student Pages: get your sex listings here.’ We don’t provide any vouchers for the massage parlours at the moment, but we are very politically incorrect, and we’ll do anything if it gains us publicity.

Student Pages attracts advertising from many big name companies, some of whom participate in a voucher section in the back of the directory. As London Student went to press, Barclaycard, Cable and Wireless, and The Firkin Brewery were all considering whether they would continue to advertise with Student Pages.

Investigations: London Student News Team

The Wit and Wisdom of Student Pages' publisher

During our interview with Colin Taggart, publishing director of Student Pages, he said so many interesting things that we were hard put to decide which was the most outrageous.

“Say you’re a young student, looking for employment in the sex industry, then you could use this as a valuable reference”
“We should probably advertise in your publication, we’d like to raise our profile. Maybe we could sponsor the sex issue. Sort of: ‘Student Pages: get your sex listings here’.”
“If it gains us notoriety and publicity, we’d do anything.”
“We advertise McDonalds; allegedly destroying the rainforests. The British Army. Everybody knows they are sexist, racist homophobes.”
And finally:
“No, we don’t take smoking advertising. Only in the Irish editions.”
“Well, you know, the bloody Irish are peasants really.”

Masseuse: "Hand relief is £35. Or £45 if you want me to strip first"

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