Trade magazine Press Gazette is reporting today that the Croydon Advertiser has been given a police warning over its continuing policy of profiting from human misery by advertising local
brothels “massage parlours” and “saunas”.
The Brothel Advertiser did itself no favours earlier this year when it ran a front-page splash “exposing” a Croydon brothel while advertising the same bawdy house in its classified section. Ads for the same brothel continued to appear in the paper for weeks after, and despite a change of editor since the initial bollock-drop, this week’s Advertiser includes its usual half-page of sex ads.
The Press Gazette reports that the Metropolitan Police has written to local newspaper editors across London warning them they could be breaking the law by carrying adverts linked to sex trafficking.
“In a letter to editors Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin, of the Met Police human exploitation and organised crime unit, warned of the link between newspaper adverts and sex trafficking.
“He said: ‘…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. Consequently it is vital that we tackle this area as part of our overarching strategy to reduce trafficking in London’.”
Aided by the same local action group that had provided the Advertiser, Croydon police and Inside Croydon with details of the local knocking shops, last month the holier-than-thou Croydon Guardian ran a feature boldly claiming that newspaper editors “faced jail” for running sex adverts (which as well as being untrue, it initially accompanied online with a photograph reproducing the offending ads).
DCS Martin’s letter, sent yesterday to around 170 newspaper editors in the capital, stops a long way short of any jail threat to journalists.
The police has merely urged editors to ensure “that your publications do not allow advertising space to be utilised to promote these practices.
“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.”
The letter continues that “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”.