Pressure on DWP to stop advertising sex industry
Posted by charliegrrl on August 9, 2007
The Dept. of Works and Pensions has recently been criticised by Eaves, for allowing escorting agencies to advertise at the Job Centre. Browsing through the Job Centre website, one can find loads of ads for escorting, modelling…and even BDSM work. Last year, a young woman went to the job centre to sign on, to be asked if she had ever considered nude dancing (aka lapdancing). Eaves state that the DWP is providing women with an avenue to fall into the sex industry and urges them to withdraw such adverts.
Watch the report on Channel 4 here.
The DWP argue that once Ann Summers won their court case in 2003, to be able to advertise at the Job Centre, this means they are legally obliged to accept adverts from escorting agencies and such like. But there’s a world of difference from selling vibrators in a high street shop to going on ‘dates’ with men or lapdancing. The difference is ultimately selling your body as a sexual service.
Can you imagine this..? You are unemployed and go into the Job Centre to sign on. Every two weeks you have to go into the Job Centre to sign on to get a measly £46.85 a week. This involves sitting with a Job Centre Advisor who asks you what jobs you’ve applied for this week, and tries to help you look for jobs. Time goes on, your overdraft is increasing, you’re getting worried cos you can’t live off £46.85 a week and the council won’t give you enough money to cover your rent. You’re getting stressed and desperate for cash. Then at the Job Centre you see adverts for escorting, that offer £100s straight up…
The sex industry advertising in the Job Centre is taking advantage of vulnerable women. The DWP is legitimising the sex industry as a career choice for women, and is providing women avenues to take employment in environments with risk of sexual harrassment and violence. They justify themselves by stating no person is obliged to apply or take up employment in the sex industry, (unlike other jobs). But that isn’t the point. They should be sensitive to know that poverty and unemployment can be stressful for people, and in this situation women are more likely to consider such jobs as they’re desperate.
Recently the DWP published The Jobcentre Plus Diversity Challenge as part of their legal obligation to The Gender Duty. They state that the DWP is committed to upholding the Gender Duty, and ensuring that the service of the Job Centre is ‘accessible’ and ‘appropriate’ for women. The Equal Opportunities Commission states that The Gender Duty requires public authorities to promote equality between women and men and eliminate unlawful sex discrimination and harassment’. How does providing women with an avenue into the sex industry, help to promote gender equality?
In support of Eaves’ pressure on the DWP to no longer advertise the sex industry, please write to Lesley Strathie, the Chief Executive of the Job Centre.
And also to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions MP Peter Hains.