26 October 2014

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‘Sex ads’ banned by Archant dailies

Two daily newspapers in Suffolk have banned adult services ads following a long-running newspaper campaign against sexual exploitation.

Ipswich’s Evening Star lauched its award-winning ‘Somebody’s Daughter’ campaign in the wake of the 2006 murders of five prostitutes in the town by serial killer Steve Wright.

Now the Star and its sister daily the East Anglian Times have ditched so-called 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.

“We have worked closely together in recent years regarding these adverts whereby you have allowed us to publish our own messages and shared valuable information.

“The Suffolk Sexual Exploitation and Prostitution Strategy, which was developed after the tragic murders of five young women in the winter of 2006 includes the need to reduce the opportunities for prostitutes to advertise their businesses.

“I am very grateful to you and your colleagues who have listened to our position and taken the bold step of removing these adverts from your newspapers.

“I am of course aware that in removing these adverts you will have lost a significant revenue stream and understand that this will have been a challenging decision.

“We will continue to work hard to tackle all aspects of criminality linked to prostitution and your support is highly valued.”

The Somebody’s Daughter campaign raised more than £50,000 and helps fund a refuge for women trapped by drug addiction and exploited because of this.

An Archant spokesman said: “The decision by Archant Suffolk’s two daily papers to stop carrying adult services ads is a local decision.

“As a company, we have adopted the Newspaper Society guidelines for the publishing industry on adult advertising. These guidelines were developed following discussions with various government departments as well as the Advertising Standards Authority, the Committee of Advertising Practice, and the Advertising Association.”

4 Comments

  1. cybercynic, east anglia

    Talk about spin by the Editors and Archant ! The sex ads were only removed after a concerted and ongoing campaign by the former head of Suffolk Police’s specialist unit dealing with the exploitation of women.
    Both papers have steadfastly refused to withdraw the massage parlour and other similar ads even during the awful period when the five street girls were murdered – and against a backdrop of reader complaints.

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  2. cynic

    Other groups did this quite a long time ago so Archant is to be congratulated on catching up at last. Perhaps it will next stop another outdated practice, bulk sales.

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  3. east of england

    Outrageous that it has taken them nearly five years to ban these ads since the Suffolk murders. UKPG is reporting that the Suffolk deputy chief constable asked for the ads to be dropped a year ago – but the request was ignored until now. Wonder if it had anything to do with the Stop Suffolk Sex Ads campaign on Faceboook launched by a retired cop.

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  4. Far East

    all very interesting, and while they are occupying the high moral ground….perhaps the absence of these ads in the classified columns will now mean a focus of attention on the “lonely hearts” sections of most local papers, Archant et al, where a scan of some of the entries (busty, long-legged young blonde, likes the good things in life, seeks nights of fun with like-minded gentleman, age unimportant) might just ring some bells. It would be interesting to know how much revenue is involved in the telephone income connected with these columns, which are not affected by this decision.

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