For once, i find myself in agreement with arch-Tory blogger Iain Dale. His post highlights – yet again – what i call the “sex-plus” double standard that permeates society and politicians alike.
It goes, roughly: take any ordinary action and add sex to it, and it becomes dangerous. Take any criminal act, add sex, and it is instantly far worse.
So it is in this instance. The government wishes now to ban from job centres ads for jobs that could lead to “exploitation”. Really?
No: of course, what they mean is sexual exploitation, because that is far far worse than any other form of exploitation. (er, i am being a tad sarcastic there!).
In fact, according to the Indie, the ban will “cover only jobs involving the “sexual stimulation of others”, allowing Jobcentres to accept adverts for shop staff or cleaners in bars, but not “performers”, either on stage or online”.
How on earth will they know? About the stimulation, that is. How will they monitor for such an effect?
The whole thing is utterly reminiscent of the fuss about trafficking. We know that a few years back a number of chinese immigrants were killed off Morecambe Bay as a result of being trafficked and employed illegally and unsafely in the cockle-picking industry.
That is awful, tragic, and something proportionate needed to be done: it was. However, when it comes to sexual trafficking, the debate has not been rational, never proportionate.
And here we have more of the same. If someone wishes to know about a job in a lap-dancing club, why the hell should government be restricting that information.
Oh: certainly there should never be any pressure to go for such jobs. But that is another matter.
Of course, the bottom line is that government dare not be consistent in this matter. If Job Centres had to drop all jobs that “exploited” workers, their shelves would soon be very empty: and if people could object to going for work on grounds that it was demeaning or made them feel “exploited”, the entire edifice of beneifts and job-hunting would crumble.
Hence the focus on sex work.
As i have said many times before: it is not a choice i would necessarily recommend; but if someone genuinely opts for it, that is their right – and it is not up to government to dabble.