Harman unveils plan to ban prostitute adverts in papers

Newspaper adverts that promote prostitution are set to be banned in a new Government clampdown on the sex industry.

The clampdown, which will feature in Labour’s election manifesto, comes amid fears that many adverts are exploiting vulnerable young women who have been trafficked into the country and forced into the sex trade.

The new rules will effectively ban newspaper advertisements for massage parlours, which are often a cover for brothels, and escort agencies.

The clampdown is being led by Equalities Minister Harriet Harman and Solicitor General Vera Baird.

Mrs Baird said: “It is now appropriate to move against people who make money from advertising prostitutes.

“The Newspaper Society tightened its guidance on taking such ads but there is still a market that we now have to look to legislation to disrupt.”

In 2008 the Newspaper Society, which represents Britain’s regional and local media, called for the adverts to be removed.

However, many publications continued to carry them.

A 2008 survey from the Poppy Project, a government funded charity that helps victims of sex trafficking, revealed the financial gain brothels get by placing newspaper adverts.

The Poppy Project’s survey estimated that the 921 brothels which they examined earned a total of £86 million as a direct result of placing newspaper advertisements.

The proposed clampdown will also outlaw the placing of adverts for prostitutes in public phone boxes and shop windows.

Publications which defy the ban would be liable for a fine of up to £10,000.

Last October Harriet Harman told Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, to shut down a prostitute website, based in his state, which reviews British prostitutes.

And in December a hard-hitting campaign targeted at those who purchase sex was launched to stamp out prostitution in Scotland.

Glasgow City Council is behind the End Prostitution Now campaign which is pushing for a change in the law to ensure there is “no hiding place for the pimps, punters and brothel keepers who prey upon others”.

The campaign features a series of hard-hitting posters to raise awareness of the harmful effects of prostitution.

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