Not long ago I wrote about advertisements for sex-industry jobs in UK government-funded (un)employment offices called Jobcentre Plus. The other day, a government consultation on their presence came to an end.
Patrons were not forced to take the jobs or even look at the listings, and presumably some job-seekers were grateful to come upon them. One would think otherwise, however, by protestors’ language at a demonstration held against these adverts. Sometimes I think their vision of Woman’s Place looks more like this:
Louisa Peacock, 27 March 2009. This article first appeared in Personnel Today magazine
Anti-sex industry campaigners have branded Jobcentre Plus ‘Pimpcentre Plus’ for continuing to advertise jobs in the adult entertainment industry.
As the government’s consultation ‘Accepting and advertising employer vacancies from within the adult entertainment industry by Jobcentre Plus’ draws to a close today, human rights organisations and women’s rights campaigners have urged the government to stamp out any escort or masseuse services as those jobs are “euphemisms for prostitution”.
Members ofthe campaign group Object and the Feminist Coalition Against Prostitution stood outside Brixton Jobcentre with ‘Pimpcentre Plus’ placards in protest.
Anna van Heeswijk, grassroots co-ordinator at Object, said: “It is not acceptable for a government agency to be promoting jobs to women which often involve violence and abuse and which send out the message that women are sexual objects to be bought and sold.”
The Department for Work and Pensions began to advertise jobs in the adult entertainment industry after a 2003 legal ruling that Ann Summers should be allowed to advertise through Jobcentre Plus.
But van Heeswijk said: “It is nonsensical for the government to extend a decision applicable to retail premises to virtually the entire sex industry. It is well known that ‘escort’ and ‘masseuse’ are euphemisms for prostitution. Working in Ann Summers is very different from providing direct sexual services in prostitution or lap dancing.”
The DWP consultation, which aims to investigate whether more can be done to strengthen the safeguards in place for the safety of jobseekers, ends today, 27 March.