A column in today's Guardian quotes a British Member of Parliament saying that it's an issue of "legal vocabulary" that government-run jobcentres in the UK carry ads such as these:
The database has carried ads for escorts at £200 a shift - no experience necessary - masseurs, nude models, nude cleaners, pole and erotic dancers, sex chatline workers, and performers on topless TV.
The Department for Work and Pension, which runs the jobcentres, says it is not promoting the illegal sex industry:
It says primly that before it accepts ads involving physical contact, it demands a statement from employers confirming that no illegal activity is taking place, and that "the vacancy does not involve contact of a sexual nature." Once a jobseeker has a post, the DWP will contact them again "to see if anything illegal was subsequently found to be part of the job requirements."
Of course, as the columnist writes, everyone knows "what goes on in saunas and between escorts." The problem, apparently, is that a UK high court ruled "that jobcentres must carry vacancies for legal work in the 'sex and personal-services industries.' " The intent was to allow jobs to be posted for people to work in sex-toy shops, porn-movie warehouses, strip clubs, etc. Des Browne, a Labour Party MP said:
"It may be that the structure of law we have forces us not to discriminate between one sort of job and another, but it doesn't seem right to me. There's a big difference between being a warehouseman and working as a masseur in a massage parlour. We don't have the legal vocabulary to make the distinction, and maybe we should."
Blaming the problem on the "legal vocabulary" seems silly to me. The problem isn't the words of the law. Remember, the DWP asks that "the vacancy does not involve contact of a sexual nature." So the words are there. The problem is one of enforcement. Since the courts say truly legal sex-industry work must be allowed to advertise, then someone (i.e., undercover cops) has to be checking that the government isn't in the business of acting as a middleman for the hiring of prostitutes.
Problem solved. You're welcome, British government.
But I'd bet that no one wants to spend the money it would take to spot-check the ads by actually sending out police to take job interviews, as opposed to just calling up the job applicants and asking if they've signed on as a hooker.