Northcliffe Media‘s Croydon Advertiser has dropped sex-ads from the paper following a campaign by local activists and discussions with the Metropolitan Police.
The paper first announced it was planning to drop its ‘adult services’ section in December, but the Eastlondonlines and Inside Croydon websites report that last week’s edition was the first to completely drop the ads.
The paper said it would change its policy following discussions with the Met, agreeing to drop ads for massage parlours, saunas and escorts.
Northcliffe was unavailable for comment at the time of publication but a statement released last month said: ‘On our own initiative we have recently engaged with the Metropolitan Police as part of a regular review of policies and working practices in this area.
‘Taking account of their advice we have announced internally a change to our terms and conditions of acceptance of advertisements.”
Eastlondonlines also points to a Twitter message by Advertiser editor on 30 January that said the paper had ‘now ceased to run such adverts, in line with the Met’s guidelines”, adding that ‘Our policy is now clear – we will not publish escort agency/massage parlour adverts in the Croydon Advertiser”.
A spokesperson for Croydon Community Against Trafficking, which had been campaigning for the ban, told Eastlondonlines: ‘Through CCAT and police pressure, we are encouraged to see an end to the Advertiser’s advertising of services which may promote or support trafficking and exploitation.
‘We very much hope that the other websites and publications that we are monitoring will soon follow suit.'”
The move by the Advertiser comes after six months after Archant’s Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times both stopped publishing sex ads after a campaign spearheaded by a former police sergeant Neil Boast who worked on the Suffolk Strangler case.
Before leaving the force six months ago Boast led Suffolk Constabulary’s human trafficking and sexual exploitation unit – the team set up following the conviction serial killer Steve Wright, who was found guilty of murdering five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2008.
The Star continued running the ads despite launching its “Somebody’s Daughter” campaign against prostitution, which raised more than £50,000 and continues to help fund a refuge for women affected by drug addiction.
The Advertiser’s local rival, Newsquest‘s Croydon Guardian, dropped all adult services ads in 2008.
In 2010 the Met wrote to local newspaper editors in London warning them they could be breaking the law by carrying adverts linked to sex trafficking.