AddThis SmartLayers

Report calls for new clampdown on newspaper sex ads

A report commissioned by a Labour MEP has called for a fresh clampdown on so-called sex adverts in local newspapers.

The Metropolitan Police sent a letter sent to 170 editors of London newspapers in 2010, arguing that there was a strong link between sex advertising and people trafficking.

However according to the report, only one newspaper in the capital, the Croydon Advertiser, has since banned the adverts.

The Newsquest newspaper group banned sex ads in 2008 while two Archant-owned titles outside London, the Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times, banned them last year.

The report, published yesterday, was commissioned by London MEP Mary Honeyball and written by researchers Halliki Voolma and Melisa Trujillo.

Among other recommendations, it calls on the Newspaper Society to take a stronger lead in drawing attention to the issue and ensuring newspapers respond.

It states:  “The minimum standard is for editors to have comprehensive safeguards in place to ensure that the advertising they accept is not linked to sex trafficking.

“The most reliable way to ensure that local newspapers are not complicit in sex trafficking through their advertising policy, however, is to remove adverts for sexual services from their titles.

“The Newspaper Society must take a stronger stance on the issue and hold publishers to account to ensure the problem is not being ignored.

“While not a statutory authority, NS is powerfully placed to be able to fulfill this important role.”

However the report also acknowledges the commercial difficulties faced by newspapers and the risk that banning sex ads would affect their viability.

“While local newspapers clearly have a responsibility towards the communities they represent, they must also ensure they have a financially viable business,” it states.

“Newspaper publishers are under considerable, and increasing pressure to find revenue for their titles and without the income from sex adverts, some titles would fold.”

The report suggests that for some titles, a gradual phasing out of sex adverts would be more feasible than an outright ban.

Andrew Parkes, group editor of Newsquest South London, is among the journalists quoted in the report.

He said the company’s chief exectutive Paul Davidson had taken the decision to ban the ads in 2008 amid increasing concerns over the links between sex advertising and human trafficking.

However Andrew said that attempts to get these adverts into Newsquest’s titles have not stopped.

“Every week people try to get these adverts in. Even if they’re banned we still get them through different routes,” he said.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • June 12, 2012 at 10:00 am

    What’s so wrong with family newspapers writing front page stories about the problems faced by communities where prostitution is rife and then taking cash from pimps and people smugglers to advertise those services? It’s political correctness gone mad.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • June 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Umpteen local papers have been raking in steady lolly income by carrying columns of these sort of ads for massage, escorts etc. and then sometimes splashing stories about police clamping down on prostitutes in certain districts.
    Then there have been those same papers running leaders applauding the police, slamming the “disgusting activity on our streets,” and how decent residents deserve being rid of naughty girls …de dum de dum.
    Who are the “filthiest” – the girls, the kerb crawlers or the eager ad departments taking in the money?
    Newsquest and others used to take all these ads and they sometimes still appear all carefully worded to get round the “ban.” Anyone seen those occasional ads for “trousers pressed while you wait” etc etc!?
    Ho hum…..Newspapers’ hard times – financially.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)