The Croydon Guardian is running a story today saying that newspaper editors across London have received a letter from the police warning them to stop running advertisements for sex establishments which may involve trafficked women.
The Guardian says the letter: "Warns editors that they could be held criminally liable if they run ads which turn out to be linked to human trafficking, exploitation or proceeds of crime" and "was sent to more than 170 editors yesterday afternoon and asks them to support the police initiative."
The letter from Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin, head of the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Unit, reads: "Advertising in newspapers can play a key role in facilitating the exploitation of trafficked victims. 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."
DCS Martin asks editors to put in place a system to make sure they do not accept adverts which are “fronts for criminal networks to advertise trafficked victims for sexual services”.
He warns: “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.”
In 2008, Croydon Guardian publisher Newsquest dropped sex advertising from its newspapers after becoming convinced of the link between them and women being trafficked into the country to be used as sex slaves.
The Guardian has a link to the police letter here
- Former Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson has been running a campaign to get regional newspapers to drop sex ads.
- Newsquest has estimated that the sex ad ban cost the company up to £250,000 in one region alone.