The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has reportedly paid cash incentives of over £2,000 to lap-dancing bars in the UK to hire unemployed people aged 18-24.
The incentive is part of the DWP’s Youth Contract scheme which enables strip clubs and massage parlours that offer full-time jobs to young people for at least 26 weeks to claim up to £2,275 as long as the young person is neither a ‘performer’ nor ‘performing sexual acts’.
According to the International Business Times (IBT), Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart uncovered details of the scheme and has now raised the matter in Parliament.
She has demanded to know how many people employed at strip clubs in various roles go on to become sex workers and claims to have met women who started out working in cloakrooms who went on to become prostitutes.
In an interview for the Sunday Times, she said:
I do not think parents would welcome this government-sponsored recruitment into the sex industry.
The DWP has responded to critics saying young people are only guided towards working in sex establishments if they specifically ask.
According to the IBT, since 2012, jobs with a sexual purpose have been banned from government websites, although ‘ancillary’ jobs within the ‘industry’ are still available.
A recent DWP document has been released that lists jobs within the adult entertainment industry for which employers can receive government subsidies to take on unemployed young people.
It includes those involved in the sale, manufacture, distribution and display of sex related products, bar staff, door staff, receptionists or cleaners in lap dancing clubs, saunas or massage parlours.
It also covers jobs within the adult film industry such as photographers, TV camera operators, sound technicians, producers and directors.
A DWP spokesman said:
This Government took action to ensure jobs in the adult industry which might exploit jobseekers were not advertised through Jobcentre Plus.
We also ensured that to be eligible for our schemes jobs must not exploit vulnerable jobseekers.
However, ads of a more sinister nature do sometimes slip through the net. In December 2013, an ad for a girl to become a prostitute briefly appeared on the Universal Jobmatch area of the Direct Gov website.
International Business Times
The Sunday Times