The Reading Post has been praised for putting a stop to advertisements selling sexual services.
The move follows a survey by the Government Equalities Office which found up to 75% of local newspapers are carrying small ads selling sexual services worth £44m amid supposed concern about human trafficking.
It also discovered a large proportion of the ads specified that the women were foreign. [But this of course does not infer that they are trafficked]
The Government is already in talks with the newspaper industry about removing such ads.
Harriet Hardnose, minister for women and equality and Labour's Deputy Leader, said: Within these ads are girls who've been trafficked into modern day slavery. And Ms Harman hailed the example of the Reading Post in putting a stop to the ads. If
other papers follow this example, and when the guidelines are implemented, we can make progress towards eradicating this intolerable trade.
Mean minded ministers want to block the phone numbers of prostitutes who advertise their services in newspapers and telephone booths in an attempt to stifle the illegal sex trade.
Police forces would identify suspected prostitutes to the telephone companies, which would be required to cut off their numbers.
The proposal has emerged in a six-month review of prostitution laws by ministers from three government departments. They are also considering making it illegal to pay for sex.
Vera Baird, the solicitor-general, spewed bollox that it was important to curb “the industry of prostitution” and the demand for call girls if the stream of trafficked women into Britain was to be stemmed.
Critics warned that blocking telephones could drive the trade underground, making it harder to police, and would force more women to walk the streets in the search for business. They also warned that it could criminalise legitimate escorts.
It is 10 times more dangerous to work on the streets than in a flat. It will drive it underground, said Cari Mitchell of the English Collective of Prostitutes.
Last month Baird, Vernon Coaker, a Home Office minister, and Barbara Follett, the women's minister, visited Sweden where it is a criminal offence to pay for sex. All the main Swedish telephone companies have a voluntary agreement with the phone regulator
to cut off the lines of brothels and prostitutes.
The ministers have already spoken to local and regional newspaper representatives about withdrawing advertisements for prostitutes — often promoted under the guise of massage services.
Baird also wants more local newspapers to publicly name and shame men convicted of kerb-crawling as a deterrent to others. She praised local papers in Middlesbrough for identifying men who have been convicted of using prostitutes.
Other MPs fear that the measures could backfire. Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat equalities spokeswoman, said: It is a very good thing that the government is looking at this, but there is a danger that it could drive prostitution underground.
Any moves to try to eradicate the client side would have to be incredibly carefully handled. In an ideal world prostitution shouldn't exist, but we don't live in an ideal world.
One of the largest newspaper publishers in the UK is to ban advertisements for "adult services" from its titles - almost 300 publications, including 17 dailies and websites.
Writing in the Croydon Guardian last week, Andy Parkes, group editor at Newsquest South London, said: The company has taken a decision no longer to publish adult services advertisements, either in print or on its websites. Increasing concerns
regarding the appalling issue of human trafficking have been significant in this decision, which is effective immediately.
Mean minded campaigners have predictably welcomed the move by linking mainstream adult consensual prostitution with the exaggerated issue of sex trafficking.
A Croydon Community Against Trafficking spokesman said: We are pleased that Newsquest has had the boldness to lead in an industry that has historically been complicit in the trafficking of women by allowing these victims to be sold via adverts.
The Government is urging tens of thousands of Women's Institute members to snitch on sex small ads in local newspapers.
But campaigners have slammed the move and say it will only drive prostitutes on to the streets - making them ten times more likely to be attacked.
In a speech to the WI, Minister for Women Harriet Hateman asked its 205,000 UK members to snitch to editors if they see the adverts in local newspapers.
She falsely claimed many of these sex workers are trafficked into this country and forced into prostitution.
However, representatives of the UK's estimated 80,000 prostitutes say Harman is grossly exaggerating the problem in order to launch an anti-immigration message - and a moral crusade.
Niki Adams, of the English Collective Of Prostitutes, told Sky News Online: It's appalling, it's absolutely terrible (what Harriet Harman is saying). It's ten times safer for women to work together in a house than on the street. And local newspapers
are one of the few ways women have to advertise. This sort of thing will force them out on to the streets - is that what the WI wants?
She added: The Government has fabricated the trafficking figures to make it appear worse. They are putting together violence and prostitution. We know the difference between consensual sex and rape.
Pat Marshall, chairman of Hampshire WI, held back on criticising Harman: We are waiting to see what Harriet Harman has to say and will think about that in the light of our resolution, she told Sky News Online.
But a spokeswoman for the national group said members would be encouraged to look out for adverts and write letters of complaint to editors if they found them. If our members find the adverts, we ask them to write to the paper and report back to us so we
can collate the results. We want our members to raise awareness of the damage that carrying these adverts can have on the lives of trafficked women and girls.
Anti-sex nutters have whinged at Croydon newspapers which continue to run sex advertisements in their papers.
The Croydon Guardian, and publisher Newsquest's 305 titles nationwide decided to pander to the nutters and ban adult advertisements in July 2008.
But eight months on The Croydon Advertiser and its sister paper The Post are continuing to accept adult massage adverts.
A spokesman from the nutters of Croydon Community Against Trafficking (CCAT) said if men were unable to access sex adverts in local newspapers, accessing brothels online through their work and home computers would become more risky for them.
He said: We are thrilled that Newsquest, who have already taken a principled stand in the fight against trafficking, are now initiating a campaign to press other newspapers to do the same.
We have been campaigning for nearly four years for all newspapers to remove these adverts and Newsquest have been the only company who have listened.
A spokeswoman from the Poppy Project, an organisation that campaigns against prostitution, said: We were delighted last year when Newsquest decided to withdraw ‘adult services' advertisements from its newspapers. It is not acceptable in the 21st
century that women's bodies can be bought and sold, and even less acceptable that local businesses are benefitting financially from this continued exploitation of women in the sex industry. We encourage other news agencies to stand up and take
responsibility in a similar way.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hylind, who heads up the Met’s Vice Unit said newspapers such as the South London Press (SLP) were directly fuelling the misery of thousands of women trapped in the sex trade.
He said: Some of these adverts actually fuel the trafficking of women who are put into horrible circumstances and I think its both a moral duty and the responsibility of newspapers not to join that sort of activity.
You would not accept people advertising drugs or stolen property. But the selling of sexual services for gain or control is illegal. These newspapers are advertising an illegal act.”
He said people working in the newspaper industry knowingly advertising sex for financial gain could be prosecuted if cases against them were provable.
DI Hylind claimed that every business advertised in newspapers his unit had investigated turned out to be a brothel run by pimps, and most contained women who had been trafficked from eastern Europe or southeast Asia, who were being held against their
[Presumably the vice squad only investigate those businesses suspected of trafficking!]
Forgive them their sins...They know not what they spout
The clergy must be easy prey for nutters such as Poppy and ludicrous suggestions that vast numbers of working girls are trafficked. Presumably the church just don't have much first hand knowledge of the subject and simply don't realise that they are
being fed bullshit.
Nutters have hit out at Hertford newspapers which they claim are fuelling the exploitation of vulnerable women by running personal services advertisements.
The St Albans Review banned all "adult" advertisements in July 2008 after being persuaded of a mythical link between the ads and women trafficked for sex.
But other local publications continue to take money from such advertisements.
Bishop of Hertford Christopher Foster said: It is now over nine months since the Newsquest group of newspapers banned personal services ads in its titles –a move which The Right Reverend Christopher Herbert commended before his retirement as Bishop of
St Albans last year.
I share his view. Since Newquest took its ethical stance, at least one other major newspaper owner has joined the three our four who recognise that these ads can support sex-trafficking. I call on all newspaper owners who have yet to take this step to
keep in tune with the prevailing mood and to ban these ads in their titles. I also ask that the public look at where newspapers stand on this issue when they place advertisements in them.
Detective Superintendent Mark Drew said: Hertfordshire Constabulary have commended the Newsquest group of newspapers. [But] we do not believe that Hertfordshire has a significant problem with prostitution or people trafficking .
Sheriff Richard Davidson spoke out after jailing a London woman for three months for running a brothel in Dundee.
He said: This particular inquiry was instigated at my request because of adverts in the Daily Sport advertising sexual gratification services at various addresses in Dundee. I have asked the Crown Office if it is not time for the law to be changed so
that prosecutions can be taken against the proprietors for assisting in running brothels.
At Dundee Sheriff Court Paula Jean Thomas, admitted running a brothel at the city's Strathmore Avenue between March 3 and 26.
Depute fiscal Emma Stewart told the court that police began a crackdown on prostitution in Dundee in February last year.
They discovered an advert in the Daily Sport offering sexual services. The phone number led them to the house in Strathmore Avenue. Police went to the house and spoke to Thomas, who admitted working as a prostitute but said she was working alone.
Then another advert appeared, giving a telephone number and various names. Police called the Daily Sport and discovered an account was opened by Carol Webster - a name used by Thomas. Police returned to the house in March and Thomas came to the door
wearing only lingerie. Officers went in and found a man lying naked in bed. He said he had just paid £60 for sex. Thomas was arrested.
You will have seen the advertisements in the back of some newspapers: New young models. Open 24 hours. Come and relax and have
a professional massage.
If Vera Baird, the UK Solicitor General has her way such ads will soon be a thing of the past. Baird, along with Fiona Mactaggart, Harriet Harman and other feminists in Westminster, is looking to the Republic of Ireland for inspiration on how to
legislate against third-party profiteering from the sex industry – namely by newspapers. Ireland's legislation, in place since 1994, reads:
A person who publishes or causes to be published or distributes or causes to be distributed an advertisement which advertises a brothel or the services of a prostitute in the State or any premises or service in the State
in terms, circumstances or manner which gives rise to the reasonable inference that the premises is a brothel or that the service is one of prostitution shall be guilty of an offence.
The legislation includes those advertising prostitution services in other ways, for example displaying notices or posters, circulating leaflets or cards (such as those in telephone boxes) or on radio, television, computer, telephone, fax or photography.
At Baird's instigation the Crown Prosecution Service here in the UK has taken a close look at the legislation and decided that it could be useful in prosecuting those directly involved in profiting from this abusive industry and could also reduce
the numbers of men paying for sex.
If police can confirm that an ad being published or distributed is for a brothel the publisher is sent a warning of possible arrest and prosecution if the ad runs again. The penalty is a fine of up to £10,000.
Advertisements for massage parlours and escort agencies are to be banned in the next government assault on the sex industry.
Ministers plan to disrupt the sex industry by banning newspaper advertisements for prostitutes and brothels in a new law put forward in Labour's election manifesto. Failure to comply with the law could carry a £10,000 fine.
The clampdown is being led by Vera Baird, the solicitor-general, and Harriet Harman, the equality minister.
They are concerned that a request to remove the adverts has had only partial success. Although The Newspaper Society succeeded in persuading some newspaper groups to stop carrying them, ministers are concerned that many others have failed to do
The Crown Prosecution Service has already studied a similar law in Ireland and concluded that it would work in the UK.
The new law would also inform publishers which kind of ads will be banned by defining, for example, the difference between a massage parlour which is actually a brothel and spas offering therapeutic massages.
Sex phone lines, carried in many tabloid newspapers, would not be caught by the law unless they are a front for arranging prostitution.
It would also make it a criminal offence to print or distribute telephone-box cards advertising prostitutes. Under the current law, it is an offence only to be caught in the act of posting such a card.
Baird said: It is now appropriate to move against people who make money from advertising prostitutes. The Newspaper Society tightened its guidance on taking such ads but there is still a market that we now have to look to legislation to disrupt.
Sutton Council in Surrey is set to ban council advertising in publications that carry sex advertisements.
Chief executive Paul Martin confirmed the authority would back the decision to ban adverts for massage parlours and escort agencies, such as those run in South London Press (SLP) and the Sutton Advertiser series.
The move comes as leading members of Lambeth Council, Lambeth police, and NHS Lambeth vowed to withdraw advertising from newspapers like the SLP, until they stop publishing sex adverts.
Many of the brothels girls work in are advertised in local newspapers as massage parlours, and more than 40% of men who access off-street prostitutes do so through the local media, according to a Government report.
Leader of Sutton Conservatives Paul Scully said: This modern-day slave trade is grotesque and needs the strongest action from Government.
Lib Dem Leader coun Sean Brennan said: The Liberal Democrats in Sutton strongly support this campaign, which highlights the fact the prostitution is not a victimless crime. We hope the campaign will encourage other publishers to take similar
Spain has announced that it will address women's issues during its turn at the rotating EU presidency.
The Spanish Minister for Inequality, Bibiana Aído, affirmed that the relation between the media and equality should be extensive and that they should be moving in the same direction and she stated that it is time to emphasise
in capital letters questions such as the struggle against gender violence and against sex trafficking.
The Spanish Minister also pointed out that it is time to eliminate publicity that trivializes prostitution (...) and which is an affront to the dignity of women , in reference to announcements for sexual contacts in some European publications.
The Croydon Advertiser has recently run an exposé of a sinister brothel operating in the same building
as a charity for the elderly .
The quality piece of investigative journalism recounts how a fearless undercover reporter was offered sex with a prostitute for £50 at the seedy enterprise in London Road, West Croydon .
Having made absolutely certain he was being offered sex in return for cash, the hack made his excuses and left , as journalistic tradition requires.
The Advertiser notes that the establishment was advertised as 'Oriental Massage Croydon' through a card in the window of Eshop General Stores, in London Road.
Here's where the wheels come off the paper's probe, however. As the Guardian explains, the reporter could have saved himself a trip to Eshop General Stores by turning to page 52 of his own paper, which carries an ad for the very bawdy-house he was
Nutters of the Croydon Community Against Trafficking (CCAT) noted: CCAT is baffled by the utter hypocrisy of the Croydon Advertiser; on the one hand to have a front page article about sinister brothels in our midst, and then, on the other, to
take money from the same brothel and help it to thrive, demonstrates an alarming degree of double standards from our local family newspaper.
Newspapers which publish sex adverts could face prosecution by the Metropolitan Police.
As part of an investigation into sex trafficking, the Croydon Guardian reports that a senior police officer saying editors who continue to run adverts for brothels could be arrested.
Vice squad detective inspector Kevin Hyland told the paper: It is an offence to advertise for prostitution. If newspapers do run adverts there is a possibility of prosecution. The legislation we are thinking of using is aiding and
abetting offences of controlling prostitution for gain, offences of trafficking under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and possibly money laundering.
A Croydon Guardian article claims sex adverts were estimated to be worth more than £44m for the regional press in 2006.
A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Service said its Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command was a specialist unit tackling trafficking and prostitution and a number of people had been jailed in recent months. She said:
In many of these investigations, the organised criminal networks have sought to advertise through local newspapers or advertising journals.
It is important that everyone plays their part in trying to reduce the opportunity of criminal networks to continue their illegal activities and their exploitation of vulnerable people through advertising sexual services. The MPS is
working with the media to tackle this.
Newspaper editors across London have been sent letters by police threatening that they could be prosecuted for sex adverts involving women who have been trafficked.
A letter was sent to more than 170 editors by the Metropolitan Police Service telling them they could be held criminally liable if adverts in their titles turn out to be linked to human trafficking, exploitation or proceeds of crime.
The letter from Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin, head of the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Unit, asks editors to put a system in place to ensure they do not accept adverts which are a front for such criminal activity.
The letter from DCS Martin says advertising in newspapers could play a key role in allowing the exploitation of trafficked victims. He writes:
The adverts in question often purport to be massage parlours, saunas or escort agencies, but are in reality a front for criminal networks to advertise trafficked victims for sexual services.
I am therefore seeking your support to help us address this issue by ensuring that your publications do not allow advertising space to be utilised to promote these practices.
Advertisements that offer multi-national or young women or which are sexually suggestive in tone are often the type found to be linked to the provision of sexual services and / or the presence of trafficked women.
It is these types of adverts I am seeking your support in preventing. I would ask that you put in place a system to satisfy yourselves that those seeking to place advertisements are genuine concerns or businesses and not a cover for
the types of criminal activity highlighted above.
As you will appreciate, criminal liability can arise in certain circumstances where evidence clearly shows that the advertising in question supports or promotes offences associated to trafficking, exploitation or proceeds of crime.
Two daily newspapers in Suffolk have banned adult services ads. Ipswich's Evening Star and its sister daily the East Anglian Times have
ditched sex ads from their classified columns.
Star editor Nigel Pickover and the EADT's Terry Hunt admitted the move had cost a significant sum of money but said they believed it had been the right thing to do.
The move has been praised by local police bosses who this week wrote a letter of thanks to the two editors. Suffolk Constabulary's head of public protection, Det. Supt. Alan Caton said: Just a short note on behalf of Suffolk Constabulary and
the Joint Agency Strategic Group to thank you and your colleagues at Archant Suffolk for removing the 'Adult Services' adverts from your columns.
The two papers are part of the Archant group from which a spokesman said: The decision by Archant Suffolk's two daily papers to stop carrying adult services ads is a local decision.
The Croydon Advertiser is to drop advertising for adult services after nutter campaigners claimed the newspaper of profiting from human trafficking.
A statement from Northcliffe Media, which is a subsidiary of the Daily Mail said: The Croydon Advertiser has always taken its obligation to act within current legislation seriously.
A spokesperson for Northcliffe said it could not comment further, but police sources said the group had agreed to drop massage and escort adverts from its pages.
The Croydon Community Against Trafficking said it was encouraged by the move but were waiting to see changes on paper. The group ludicrously claims such adverts are often tied to sex slavery. CCAT Chairman Peter Cox claimed: These ads fuel the
demand for cheap, unhealthy sex, often provided by women who are victims of trafficking.
CCAT had called on Croydon Council to boycott the Advertiser until it dropped all such notices.
Northcliffe Media's Croydon Advertiser has dropped sex-ads from the paper following a campaign by local activists and discussions with the Metropolitan Police.
The paper first announced it was planning to drop its adult services section in December, but the Eastlondonlines and Inside Croydon websites report that last week's edition was the first to completely drop the ads.
An organisation of sex workers is opposing a private members bill which aims to ban the advertising of sexual
services, on the grounds that it would push sex workers out of premises and into greater danger and and/or into the hands of exploitative employers.
The Advertising of Prostitution (Prohibition) Bill [HL] introduced by Tory Ian McColl is due to have a second reading in the House of Lords. It aims to make it an offence to publish, or distribute, an advertisement of a brothel or the services
of a prostitute .
The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) is urging peers to oppose the bill. Laura Watson, from the ECP, commented:
Preventing sex workers from advertising would undermine their ability to work independently and safely. Advertising is a safety strategy, allowing sex workers to screen potential clients and negotiate services. Banning advertising will force sex workers
out of premises and many will end up on the street where it is 10 times more dangerous to work. It could push sex workers into the hands of exploitative bosses leaving them at higher risk of violence, coercion, isolation and criminalisation .
Cybil, from Luton, who has advertised on the web for two years commented:
I built my own website which meant I could be my own boss and leave the parlour where I worked and where they took a large slice of my income. Now I can work with complete anonymity, from the safety and convenience of my own home. I keep every penny I
earn, all without the interference of an agency or other ubiquitous middle man.
Sex workers are already prevented by the law from working safely together. Brothel-keeping law makes it illegal for more than one sex worker to work from premises. Relentless police crackdowns on sex workers on the street, often in the name of targeting
clients, break up safety networks and force women into isolated areas where they are at greater risk of attack.
The ECP points to the moralistic foundation of the bill as the only visible support is coming from the Christian charity CARE which has a track record of homophobia and opposes abortion. CARE campaigned ferociously against gay marriage and against the
repeal of Section 28 , which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools.
The Advertising of Prostitution (Prohibition) Bill [HL] passed its 2nd reading and is now to be considered by a committee of the
Religious moralists and the mega rich queued up in the House of Lords to support Ian McColl in his quest to deprive sex workers of their income via an advertising ban.
There were two politicians who had bothered to think though some of the consequences of the proposed law, namely Quentin Davies and the government minister, Michael Bates. Bates noted:
There is a practical point to make on the application and enforceability of a prohibition on advertising. Noble Lords may be aware that most advertisements for prostitution are not explicit, they are couched in euphemisms, which are difficult to
disentangle from non-sexual services; for example, reputable massage services or saunas. It would also be difficult to apply the legislation to advertisement on the internet, which can be hosted overseas, as we are experiencing in other areas of
The Government's first priority in this area is public safety. For example, the Home Office has worked with the UK Network of Sex Work Projects to support the establishment of the National Ugly Mugs scheme, to which the noble and learned Baroness
referred. This is an innovative mechanism whereby people involved in prostitution can make reports and receive alerts about incidents that have been reported to the scheme. Alert information is also fed to police forces, regional intelligence units and
police analysts. We are pleased that the evaluation of the scheme shows that it has been successful in increasing access to justice and protection for those involved in prostitution.
Our focus on safety applies also to legislation: when considering legislative changes, we must consider carefully whether we are confident that they support the safety of the people involved in prostitution. For example, I am aware of communications that
noble Lords may have received, they have been referred to, from the UK Network of Sex Work Projects setting out its concerns, particularly about criminalising and further marginalising an already vulnerable group, thereby exposing them to potentially
greater risk or harm. I would be happy to discuss with my noble friend Lord McColl and other interested Peers the evidence of the extent to which such changes to the legal, and by extension ethical, position of buying sexual services would reduce harm to
While the issues around prostitution are complex and contentious, as we have heard today, we expect every report of violence to be treated seriously. In this context, it is important to reflect on the increased reporting rates for these terrible crimes,
showing that, increasingly, victims have the confidence to report and can access the support they deserve. That is to be welcomed.
I recognise that at the heart of this Bill are the noble Lord's genuinely held concerns for the welfare of those involved in prostitution. He has made those clear in his considered presentation of his proposed Bill today. I thank him and other noble
Lords for their thoughtful contributions not only to this debate but to much of the Government's work to tackle exploitation in all its forms, whether it be modern slavery, child sexual abuse or violence against women and girls. I am proud of the
progress that we are making on a cross-party basis and we will continue to consider effective approaches.
In their present form, my noble friend's proposals would have a number of legal and practical implications, which I am happy to discuss with him, that were perhaps not intended. However, we recognise his sincerity and desire to protect from harm those
who are involved in prostitution and to offer people captured and trapped in that world a way out to a better and more healthy life for them and for society as a whole.
McColl noted the comment that creating further grounds for police prosecution for placing advertising leaves sex workers even more liable to prosecution leaving them even less able to call on the police when threatened with being victim of violence. He
I should like to address briefly one point that he raised. He suggested that my Bill will further criminalise women who are placing adverts. The Bill was drafted with the intention, courtesy of Clause 1, to address those who facilitate and publish the
advertising, such as newspapers and website operators. I shall certainly look into the question further and if I receive legal advice that Clause 1 could be interpreted to apply to an individual placing an advert rather than only to the entity publishing
it, I shall certainly look into bringing an amendment in Committee.
And before he could explain further as to why his nasty proposal would somehow not endanger sex workers, he conveniently ran out of time. He said:
I find myself in a rather difficult position because there is much I would like to respond to but we are out of time. I should like to put on record that I completely reject the suggestion that the Bill is unenforceable or that it will make life more
dangerous for people in prostitution. I feel very frustrated that time does not allow me to explain why.