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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 22:39 GMT 23:39 UK
Charity condemns escort job ads
Prostitute
A charity warns the adverts will lead women into prostitution
A government website aimed at helping people find work has been condemned for advertising escort jobs.

Jobcentre Plus is part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its website offers several personal escort positions around the country.

A charity which helps sex trade workers says the ads, for jobs paying up to 100-an-hour, will "clearly" lead women into prostitution.

A DWP spokeswoman said a court ruling meant it could not refuse the adverts.

One of the adverts - for a unisex escort agency - is seeking people in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

They have to be free to work between two and 15 hours a week and available day and night, Monday to Sunday. The job, the website states, is permanent and no pension details are available.

The job description reads: "Duties involve providing clients with a personal escort service in an unsupervised environment.

"Experience is preferred but is not essential. Duties will involve escorting and accompanying members of the public which may cause embarrassment to some people.

"Some cash handling will also be involved."

'Career choice'

But Frances Broderick, from charity Eaves, told Channel 4 news that the adverts were "clearly helping women into prostitution".

"I'm shocked that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are even advertising this as an opportunity," she said.

"It's clearly not a suitable career choice for the DWP to be promoting."

Labour MP Fiona MacTaggart, a former junior Home Office minister, told the programme: "At the moment, it's quite legal to buy or sell sexual services and I think maybe the time has come to tackle that, to actually change the law... to make it illegal to buy sex."

But the adverts cannot be banned by the website following a court ruling four years ago in a case brought by the sex toy and lingerie chain Ann Summers.

A DWP spokesman said: "The High Court over-turned Jobcentre Plus's policy which did not accept certain types of adverts connected with the sex and personal service industries."

He added there were safeguards in place to ensure customers were fully aware of the nature of the jobs and no benefit sanctions would occur if they did not apply for such vacancies.


SEE ALSO
US woman 'to share escort files'
13 Mar 07 |  Americas
Sex toys chain wins legal fight
18 Jun 03 |  Business

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