The Croydon Advertiser is getting some ribbing online over a front-page story exposing an illegal brothel business, which also happens to advertise in the title’s own pages.
Croydon Community Against Trafficking says the business is one of a number of such enterprises which advertises in the massage and personal services section of the Croydon Advertiser.
In a way, the Croydon Advertiser journalists are to be congratulated for not letting commercial considerations distract them from exposing an illegal and exploitative business.
According to Alan Geere, editorial director for Northcliffe Media South East which runs the paid-for Croydon paper: “We are aware of the sensitivities surrounding adult and personal services advertising.
“Conscious of these concerns, we take every reasonable step to ensure that the advertising we carry complies with both the letter and the spirit of the law.”
The problem is knowing when ‘stress therapy’ becomes something more sinister.
It is a devilishly difficult thing to police, which is underlined by the fact that when I typed in the word “massage” into the Google search we have now embedded in this website any number of dubious looking ‘massage’-related Google-ads appeared.
This story has been well covered by Roy Greenslade, so I won’t go into the ins and outs of it again.
But all in all, I’d say the Advertiser should be applauded for unearthing a decent undercover scoop during the slow news days of August.
Rival Newsquest owned title the Croydon Guardian makes hay with the fact that that Croydon Community Action Against Trafficking has called for a boycott of the Advertiser. But it seems a peculiarly self-defeating move from the pressure group, considering the role the Advertiser’s journalists have played in exposing a brothel which could well be involved in sex-trafficking.