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An investigation has been opened by the Work and Pensions Committee after charities have warned of a rise in ‘survival sex.’ This is where women feel forced into prostitution due to delays and cuts to their Universal Credit.
MPs have now launched an investigation to find out the extent of the problem and to see what can be done to fix it.
The Work and Pensions Committee is calling for evidence about the possible link between Universal Credit and so-called “survival sex”.
It comes after reports from charities and support organisations indicated increasing numbers of people, mostly women, have become involved in prostitution as a direct result of benefits policy changes.
Chair of the Committee Frank Field MP, told several news outlets
“We have heard sufficient evidence, and are sufficiently worried, to launch this inquiry to begin to establish what lies behind the shocking reports of people being forced to exchange sex to meet survival needs.
“This is an investigation, and we do not yet know what we will uncover.
“But if the evidence points to a direct link between this kind of survival sex and the administrative failures of Universal Credit, ministers cannot fail to act.”
The committee has identified parts of Universal Credit that may be leading to difficulties in claimants meeting basic survival needs such as food or utilities. Issues such as delays to payments and sanctions are specific areas they will look into in depth.
MPs are asking for written submissions about how the scheme might drive people into “survival sex” by April 29.
The committee will then hear oral evidence from those affected as it seeks to determine how bad the problem is, what increases can be directly linked to Universal Credit and what can be done to reduce this occurring.
I have written before how Universal Credit is a risk to victims of domestic abuse. The requirement and hoops victims are expected to jump through in a time of such stress are ridiculous.
This inquiry comes at the same time Amber Rudd lay into the previous Labour government for its record on employment.
Given the state the the UK welfare system just now, it is not just hypocritical but disgusting that she has tried to deflect blame.
The sheer fact that there’s even a possibility women feel forced to into prostitution should be a wake up call. However, the current government are unwilling to accept they get things wrong so I don’t expect much.