Pop down your local job centre and trawl through the adverts for cleaners, hod carriers and care assistants and you will soon expect to see the same old jobs thrown up time and time again. Having done this myself it kind of becomes quite repetitive. The same old companies, the same old jobs, the same old pay, advertised week after week.
All that has changed recently. Job centres around the country have received criticism for advertising jobs in the sex industry. This is unfair criticism. The job centre was taken to court in 2003 by the Ann Summers group and a high court judge ruled that the job centre must advertise legal work in the sex trade.
So, this is what they now do. Anything from webcam girls to escorts are advertised with the same finishing line as so many other adverts: 'This vacancy meets the National Minimum Wage. Income can be topped up with Tax Credits'.
So if a court has ruled in favour of this, what is the problem of the anti-sex trade lobbyists? They claim that this type of advertising encourages young women into a humiliating trade and that no woman should be forced into this type of work, whether it be from a street corner or as a webcam girl.
The vacancy is billed as a webcam performer although this will most often be translated webcam girl. It explains that explicit dialogue and performing for clients or customers fantasies is a requirement that some people may feel embarrassed by. It seems obvious to state the fact that embarrassed parties need not apply!
The vacancy covers all legal aspects by stating that nobody is obliged to apply and that nobody under 18 will be considered. Hours are flexible but if you wanted to be a webcam girl at eight pounds per hour and put in a forty hour week, that's a sizeable income. Nobody could say that the profession of a webcam girl is not part of the sex industry but does it reach the borders of prostitution?
Indeed, these webcam girls are performing sexual acts for the gratification of paying customers so, essentially, this would class them as prostitutes. However, no physical contact is involved and some justify their job with this reason.
Some authorities feel that advertising this work through the job centre legitimises the sex industry and they believe this is wrong. Or is it wrong to let the oldest profession carry on underground, without legislation and without protection for the women? This is certainly a controversial subject that will run to time indefinite.
'Abusive, degrading and humiliating' are phrases that have been used to describe the job of webcam girls. Of course, money is tight for everyone and not everyone resorts to the sex industry to ease their situation. However, some people are comfortable with this and who are we to judge them?
The sex industry is one that has been around as long as man has and it's when it gets pushed underground that women become exploited. Women should have the freedom to choose whether they work on a supermarket checkout or get their kit off for paying customers. If it's out in the open at least there are ways of monitoring it to make sure women are not abused.
The UK already has the Obscene Publications Act of 1959 to ensure that articles that are likely to deprave or corrupt those who see it are seen as illegal. This covers the sex industry but only as far as their limits of depravity go to. Bestiality, necrophilia and scenes of rape and torture are illegal but general sex is not illegal and would be virtually impossible to enforce where webcam girls are concerned.
Recruitment expert Catherine Harvey looks at how a job centre have been advertising for webcam girls and how this has brought complaints.