Universities warned of sex-industry recruiters

Recruiters could show up at B.C. colleges and universities this year looking for students to work as strippers, says the province’s minister of advanced education, Naomi Yamamoto.“The [adult entertainment] industry itself has a reputation of exhibiting some risky behaviour, and we don’t want our students exposed to that,” she said, “especially if [it means] aggressively recruiting at our campuses.”Yamamoto sent a letter to B.C. colleges and universities warning them that the adult entertainment industry might have its sights set on university and college job fairs. She said the issue came to her attention through news stories about the trend in Windsor, Ont.“We wanted to be proactive on this issue,” she said. “Frankly, it’s not something we want to see happening here.”A spokesperson for the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada couldn’t be reached for comment on Wednesday. Yamamoto said there haven’t been any reports of recruitment for adult entertainment on B.C. campuses. She added that she could not direct institutions to bar adult entertainment companies from job fairs but is “strongly recommending” that they reject any requests for space.Norah McRae, executive director of the University of Victoria’s co-operative education program, said setting up a booth at a university job fair isn’t an appropriate way for the adult entertainment industry to recruit employees. “What we focus on with recruiting on campus is linking what students are studying with the world of work,” she said.She added that the university is an open campus, so methods of informal recruitment couldn’t be stopped.“Someone could show up and put a poster up,” she said, “but it would probably be taken down quickly.”A representative of the Camosun College Student Society, Madeline Keller-MacLeod, said she would resist the presence of adult entertainment industry representatives on campus. She added the government should look at why students would look for jobs in the industry.“Our members are particularly vulnerable to any economic opportunities,” she said. “Tuition is higher now than it ever has been and is increasing over twice the rate of inflation.”The average debt for university students in British Columbia is $27,000, according to the Canadian Federation of Students. “[The government] might want to think about not burdening students [with debt],” Keller-MacLeod said.Yamamoto said the cost of education shouldn’t cause people to seek work in the adult entertainment industry.“There are a lot of initiatives in place to ensure students have access to student aid,” she said. cclancy@timescolonist.com

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