Newsquest has won plaudits from campaign groups after a group-wide decision to ban adult services ads from all 305 of its UK newspapers.
Revenue from the ads run into tens of thousands of pounds, but despite a recent 19pc year-on-year fall in classified ad revenue the US-owned group has decided to remove all them from its newspapers and websites with immediate effect.
Andy Parkes, group editor at Newsquest South London, said: “Despite operating in accordance with industry guidelines, the company has taken a decision to no longer publish adult services advertisements, either in print or on its websites.
“Increasing concerns regarding the appalling issue of human trafficking has been significant in this decision, which is effective immediately,” he added.
Campaigners against so-called “sex slavery” and people trafficking have welcomed the move, which is also taking effect on other Newsquest-owned newspapers across the country.
A Croydon Community Against Trafficking spokesman said: “After thousands of letters and the shouts of a loud and concerned community, Newsquest and their local papers have responded in a brilliant way.”
A spokesman for the Salvation Army, which has also worked to reduce sex trafficking, added: “The link between these adverts and the supply of trafficked women to meet these demands has been well documented, and we would like to see other publications now following this example.”
Recent figures revealed that Newsquest, a subsidiary of US firm the Gannett Corporation, suffered a 19pc year-on-year drop in classified advertising revenue last month.
The fall in revenue stemmed from a 36.8pc decline in property ads, a fall of 17.3pc in employment ads and 14.9pc in automotive ads across its British titles, compared with the previous June
The media pundit and blogger Roy Greenslade commented: “I must salute Newsquest for having decided to forgo the income from adult services adverts in its regional and local newspapers.
“Given the financial difficulties facing the group – the depth of which emerged in the latest results from its US parent, Gannett – it is even more praiseworthy,” he added.
Laura (18/07/2008 13:39:41)
Well done Newsquest! Hopefully now other groups will follow suit.
Hilary Scott (19/07/2008 09:20:53)
The Guardian Media Group did this some time ago so the headline and sentiment of this story is misleading
john marooth (19/07/2008 19:12:17)
what trafficking . ive never met a trafficked girl . could it be part of the 30,000 girls trafficked to germany for the world cup that turned out to be 5 or the 19 girls who were rescued from a parlour during operation pentameter who were subsequently found not to have been trafficked . nobody ever reports the aftermath because it does not fit the preconceived ideas of the feminist left .
Jeremy Condliffe (22/07/2008 12:51:39)
Well done to Newsquest but many papers like ours have refused to take these ads all along.
Now maybe some of the big groups will look at their phone rates next time they run a story about premium phone lines . . .