Results from our Survey

Thank you to everyone who took part in our survey of sex for sale ads in their local paper last summer. Here are 2 documents showing the results. The first lists the publications surveyed and, where sex for sale adverts were published, details the type and format of advertisement. And here is a report analysing the results, our conclusions being as follows:
1 It is clear from even this small sample that many regional newspapers have voluntarily made the decision to refuse adverts which we refer to as “Sex for Sale” adverts, those which may be a front for criminal activity, and are commended for this action.  Without further enquiry we might speculate that morally or ethically these newspapers feel it inappropriate to carry such adverts;  or that previous Home Secretaries’ requests not to carry them have been effective; or that their decision was influenced by SOCA and SCD9, (the unit that deals with victims of trafficking), who may have pointed out 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”, or for other unknown reasons.
Possible actions: to circulate our findings to Newspaper Editors and Groups, to appropriate Government Ministers, and others, drawing attention and praise to those newspapers which do not allow advertising space to be utilised to promote these practices.

2 From our sample the implication can be drawn, for instance, that some newspaper groups either do not have a policy and system to satisfy themselves that those seeking to place advertisements are genuine concerns or businesses and not a cover for the types of criminal activity previously mentioned, or that the monitoring of their adult policy is not adequate to ensure that advertising space is not unwittingly supporting such activity, or that the implications of carrying such adverts have not been carefully considered, or that the financial gain in so doing outweighs the objections.
Possible actions:  to circulate our findings to newspaper editors and groups covered in our survey, together with examples of adverts which may be a front for illegal sexual exploitation, and request details of their adult policy for classified advertisements, and systems to ensure their policy is being adhered to, in order to identify best practice.   To seek their support in addressing this issue by tightening up their policy and practice.   To copy these letters to relevant Government ministers and the Advertising Standards Authority.   To survey the same and additional publications year on year to identify change in current practice, and to share this with Government Ministers and others concerned with implementing the Government Strategy on Human Trafficking.
For reference, here is a bar chart showing the number of people, by postcode, who have signed up to our ban sex for sale advertising petition.

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