Jobcentre adverts may lead to women
becoming prostitutes, a group dealing with trafficked
sex workers has warned.
Denise Marshall, of the Poppy Project,
told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee women
as young as 17 were being offered jobs in the sex industry.
After addressing MPs, she accused the
government of "pimping" by offering jobs such as stripping
The Department for Work and Pensions
(DWP) said a test case meant such adverts must be carried
Poppy Project director Ms Marshall
said it had had contact with two 17-year-olds who had
gone into a Jobcentre where a number of the vacancies
had come up.
She told the committee: "Their mother
and older sister contacted us because they were so distressed
that this had happened."
Ms Marshall said the age of applicants
was not monitored by the Jobcentres' computer system.
"And when you are offering £20 an hour
to be a webcam stripper to a 17-year-old, the chances
are they may be naive," she added
Outside the hearing, Ms Marshall said
she was not aware of any cases of women becoming involved
But she added: "It hasn't happened
yet, but it will.
"The jobs included stripper, webcam
stripper, adult show hostess, lap dancing and work with
an escort agency."
The Poppy Project said it had accessed
adverts in a number of Jobcentres in the London area
despite protests to the DWP which runs the network.
The DWP said Jobcentres had to advertise
the job vacancies after the Ann Summers sex shop chain
brought a test case in 2003.
The High Court ruled that advertisements
for legal work in the "sex and personal services industries"
should be allowed.
The project's Anna Johansson also told
the committee that law enforcement agencies in Albania
and Nigeria have been accused of either being actively
involved in trafficking women to the UK or turning a
blind eye to it.