Job Centre seeks women to strip as £8-an-hour 'webcam performers'
27th October 2007
A Jobcentre has provoked outrage after it was found to be advertising for women to strip for web cams on Internet sex sites for £8 an hour.
According to the advertisement, the role involves "explicit dialogue" and "performing for clients' or customers' fantasies".
Astonishingly, the Department for Work and Pensions insisted that it is legally obliged to carry the advertisements.
However politicians and family campaigners lined up to criticise the policy last night - claiming it legitimises the sex industry and encourages women to work in it.
The controversial advertisement was posted in a Jobcentre Plus branch in Cardiff, south Wales and nationwide on the agency's website.
It offered an hourly wage for women to work 15 to 40 hours a week, between 9pm and midday. There is no pension.
Placed by a company called Cybtrader, the advertisement - which remains within legal boundaries - is unshamedly brazen when it comes to describing exactly what the role entails.
It reads: "Duties include performing to a web cam for clients or customers fantasies. Duties involve explicit sexual dialogue which may cause embarrassment for some people."
The advertisement cautions applicants that the job is not suitable for under 18s but adds: "No experience needed as training can be provided."
The would-be employer adds: "There is no obligation to consider making an application for this vacancy. However, if you feel it is suitable for you, please discuss it further with an advisor.
"This vacancy meets the requirements of the National Minimum Wage Act. Tax Credits could top up your earnings."
Yesterday family campaigners lambasted the Jobcentre's decision to carry the advertisement.
Adrian Rogers, of the Conservative Family Institute, said: "It is outrageous that this kind of work is advertised in Jobcentres. It is very important that we do not legitimise the sex industry like this."
Hugh McKinney, of the National Family Campaign, said: "There is a real danger that impressionable young adults will be forced into these amoral, degrading and inappropriate jobs. "
Elsa Hill, a manager at Eaves, a charity that houses women trafficked into prostitution, said: "It is wrong. The Jobcentre should have and could have rejected the advertisement.
"There are grades of work in the sex industry, but appearing on an internet web camera on a sex site is ultimately indistinguishable from prostitution.
"Whatever the myths around the sex industry, the reality is very different: it is abusive, degrading and humiliating.
"It is the Government's responsibility to do something about this: they should be looking at criminalising the buying of sexual services, not advertising it and encouraging it."
Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe said: "People who are very vulnerable and desperate coming into Jobcentres. They shouldn't be exposed to that sort of thing. It is quite wrong."
It is not the first time that Jobcentres have come under fire for offering sex work.
Earlier this year, Jobcentre branches were discovered offering work as £100 an hour "escorts" working for a company offering "no-strings adult fun".
The Department for Work and Pensions, which runs the Jobcentre network, insists that it is legally obliged to carry the advertisements after a test case brought by the Ann Summer sex shop chain in 2003.
Then a High Court judge ruled that Jobcentres must carry advertisements for legal work in the "sex and personal-services industries."
A spokeswoman for the DWP said: "Our advisers always check on the full details of any vacancies notified to us."
She added: "We thoroughly investigate complaints about employers including those in the adult entertainment industry and service. We have safeguards in place to ensure customers are fully aware of the nature of these jobs."
When the Daily Mail called Cybtrader's number yesterday afternoon it went to an answer phone. Romantic music played in the background as a woman with a husky voice claimed she would "love to talk" but was busy.