elrond

The Met Are Planning To Take Legal Action Against Newspapers In London That Publish Sex Adverts

27 posts in this topic

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2010/oct/13/advertising-local-newspapers

http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/news/8448188.REACTION___Sex_ads_shouldn_t_be_in_newspapers_/

http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/8448084.BLOOD_MONEY__Sex_advert_newspapers_face_prosecution/

http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/news/8448145.Newspapers__profit_from_human_traffickers___says_campaign_group/

The Metropolitan Police are planning to take legal action against newspapers in London that publish sex adverts, reports today's Croydon Guardian.

The paper's chief reporter, Kirsty Whalley, writes: "Editors and publishers are likely to find themselves in front of a judge if they refuse to stop running sex ads which are later found to be linked to human trafficking."

She reports that the Met have launched a special operation to combat sex ads in company with the Crown Prosecution Service. It is led by Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland of the vice squad.

It follows sustained lobbying by a charity, Croydon Community Against Trafficking (CCAT), which has campaigned against the use of trafficked women in the borough's massage parlours for more than five years.

Hyland told Whalley that the police wish to stamp out the advertisements. She quotes him as saying:

"Our aim is to reduce the demand for exploitation and trafficking and protect vulnerable women. We also want to highlight the serious crimes that brothel owners commit.

"Some of the women are forced to work as slaves, they are not allowed out, they are not allowed to enjoy any freedom."

CCAT estimates there are up to 60 brothels operating in Croydon and more than 80% of these are believed to use foreign nationals, a majority of who have been trafficked.

Whalley has spent the best part of eight months doggedly pursuing the story, which is billed in the Guardian as an exclusive.

It follows the decision taken in 2008 by the Guardian's publisher, Newsquest, to refuse to publish sex ads in any of its 305 titles across Britain.

Newsquest executives took the initiative after becoming convinced of the link between massage parlours (aka brothels) advertised in its papers and the trafficking of women.

However, the Guardian's rival publications - Croydon Advertiser (owned by Daily Mail & General Trust), Croydon Post, Midweek Advertiser and the South London Press (Tindle Newspapers) - do publish such adverts. Between January and July this year, CCAT recorded that a total of 2,561 ads for massage parlours were published in those papers.

Whalley also quotes Kit Malthouse, London's deputy mayor for policing, who says:

"Advertising of sex services in newspapers is just the visible tip of an organised crime iceberg that involves the full suite of organised criminal activity.

"We know a lot a sex traffickers get access to their markets through local newspapers.

"We don't allow drug dealers to advertise in newspapers so why should we allow traffickers to advertise prostitution?"

Earlier this year, new legislation made it illegal to pay for sex with someone who has been forced into prostitution.

It is estimated, according to Whalley, that the advertising of brothels was worth more than £44m in revenue to the regional newspaper industry in 2006.

She reveals that two people convicted of sex trafficking charges in Croydon in May this year made £1m in six months while running four brothels. The couple, who were jailed for five-and-a-half years, smuggled women from China.

Their brothels were advertised in newspapers across south London and Surrey.

A spokesman from the regional papers' trade body, the Newspaper Society, is quoted as saying: "The NS is not a regulatory body. The final decision on whether or not to run an advertisement would have to be taken by individual publishers."

NB: The Guardian was taken to task by a local blogger, Inside Croydon, for having illustrated its article with a selection of ads that showed the phone numbers. It later pixellated the pictures.

Edited by elrond

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The (London) Metropolitan police are to big, bureaucratic and out of control. They should be tackling trafficking crime by going after the traffickers instead of 'soft' targets. I just hope this present administration cut the Met numbers or break them up. They appear to be unaccountable and Kevin Hyland should get a job as a toilet cleaner. (though not qualified to do the job!)

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it will be interesting to see how this develops and the response from the daily mail (who own the titles mentioned)

i remember the daily mail had an article critical about ccat going into schools and talking about prostitution

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Thanks for posting that.

"Leading the initiative is vice squad Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, working with the Crown Prosecution Service.

He said police were willing to charge editors and publishers with aiding and abetting sex trafficking and money laundering.

D Insp Kevin Hyland said: "It is an offence to advertise for prostitution. If newspapers do run adverts there is a possibility of prosecution.

"The legislation we are thinking of using is aiding and abetting offences of controlling prostitution for gain, offences of trafficking under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and possibly money laundering."

Harriet Harman made similar empty threats when the last government was in power. DI Hyland has previous "form" for misquoting the law to suit his purposes.

There's no way that "aiding and abetting" charges could be made to stick. In addition,so far as I am aware it is not an offence to "advertise for prostitution".

Money laundering could be more problematic. The "adequate consideration" defence in section 329(2)c POCA 2002 may not apply because "the provision by a person of goods or services which he knows or suspects may help another to carry out criminal conduct is not consideration".

I can't see it happening though. It just comes across as another way of curbing demand by scaring off the innocent.

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CCAT estimates there are up to 60 brothels operating in Croydon and more than 80% of these are believed to use foreign nationals, a majority of who have been trafficked.

"Estimates", "believed", use of a statement such as "a majority of who have been trafficked" without any empirical evidence to back it up. Sounds like the norm for these kind of people. I thought the police were supposed to be enforcing the law, not making it.

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Perhaps editors do need to take care about the adverts they accept. Trouble is the expenses their investigators will incur in checking for cases where women are coerced..

My take, informed by a senior copper from a Northern force, a mate, is that the sex trade per se isn't a problem (unless the neighbours complain). But if they do become aware of an inckling of trafficking or forced behaviour they will act and act swiftly.

All of this is precisely why Punternet supporters are encouraged to alert the authorities of such untoward activity if they suspect same.

The attitude of the police towards parlours is interesting. From what I learn from the girls around my area, the Herts Police are far tougher on parlours that the Beds Police.

A postcode lottery again folks - just like the NHS

Uncle Pokey

Edited by Uncle Pokey

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"We know a lot a sex traffickers get access to their markets through local newspapers."

That is excellent news, now all you have to do is to use the advertised contact details and arrest them.

"We don't allow drug dealers to advertise in newspapers so why should we allow traffickers to advertise prostitution?"

Well you should, in fact they should be paid to do so, it should be made compulsory to do so.

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Are there REALLY 60 brothels in Croyden ?

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Are there REALLY 60 brothels in Croyden ?

If Trafficking is involved, I think that it's a case of think of a number, double it and then add a zero on the end. That's what they usually do.

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Newsquest executives took the initiative after becoming convinced of the link between massage parlours (aka brothels) advertised in its papers and the trafficking of women.

However, the Guardian's rival publications - Croydon Advertiser (owned by Daily Mail & General Trust), Croydon Post, Midweek Advertiser and the South London Press (Tindle Newspapers) - do publish such adverts. Between January and July this year, CCAT recorded that a total of 2,561 ads for massage parlours were published in those papers.

From the regularity with which their S. London papers publish variants of this story I conclude Guardian Group group are hacked off that they have foregone an income stream that their competitors continue to enjoy, and try to hype the prosecution risk. It fills copy on a thin week.

The argument that the adverts should be banned because some brothels (a tiny minority) are involved in trafficking is specious. Some of the goods advertised in newspapers transpire to be fake or stolen but this is not taken as a reason for banning all small ads

Edited by wanderlust

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Seems the departure of Harriet & Co from power has done nothing to rein back the Hyland Crew. Or the Essex Boys, as per a link provided on the General board: http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/8444952.Brothel____first_of_many____to_be_shut_down_and_sealed_up/

Threats against newspapers, closures with menaces, relaundering money into their own coffers; these highly organised gangs are out of control…

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Seems the departure of Harriet & Co from power has done nothing to rein back the Hyland Crew. Or the Essex Boys, as per a link provided on the General board: http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/8444952.Brothel____first_of_many____to_be_shut_down_and_sealed_up/

Threats against newspapers, closures with menaces, relaundering money into their own coffers; these highly organised gangs are out of control…

I presume they will prosecute papers carrying ads for other trades where workers are found to be trafficked, or working criminally?

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I'm no lawyer but how are they going to prove the offence. Many posts on this board have pointed out the almost impossibility of enforcing the Harman laws against someone found on the job in a police raid. But this is several steps removed. Newspaper publishes advert saying perhaps Exotic massage by Chinese ladies. Police then have to raid premises. Then have to prove sex acts taking place and with trafficked person. But maybe five ladies at the premises and only one trafficked. Newspaper brings on expensive lawyer. Seems like a big bluff to me. And surely they would have to bring a prosecution for each individual advert. All seems a big bluff to me. and will they really take on Loot and Time Out.

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I'm no lawyer but how are they going to prove the offence. Many posts on this board have pointed out the almost impossibility of enforcing the Harman laws against someone found on the job in a police raid. But this is several steps removed. Newspaper publishes advert saying perhaps Exotic massage by Chinese ladies. Police then have to raid premises. Then have to prove sex acts taking place and with trafficked person. But maybe five ladies at the premises and only one trafficked. Newspaper brings on expensive lawyer. Seems like a big bluff to me. And surely they would have to bring a prosecution for each individual advert. All seems a big bluff to me. and will they really take on Loot and Time Out.

Well it would certainly be fascinating to see what the Met would do if a Murdoch owned publication ran some services adverts!

I bet the only sound would be pounding boots retreating

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I think it is worth quoting some of the Croydon Guardian's report (a Guardian "exclusive", the result of six months work by their "Chief Reporter"!!!):

Vice cops could arrest newspaper editors who continue to publish brothel advertisements in an unprecedented campaign against the sordid sex trafficking trade.

Editors and publishers are likely to find themselves in front of a judge if they refuse to stop running sex ads which are later found to be linked to human trafficking.

Leading the initiative is vice squad Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, working with the Crown Prosecution Service.

He said police were willing to charge editors and publishers with aiding and abetting sex trafficking and money laundering.

D Insp Kevin Hyland said: "It is an offence to advertise for prostitution. If newspapers do run adverts there is a possibility of prosecution.

"The legislation we are thinking of using is aiding and abetting offences of controlling prostitution for gain, offences of trafficking under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and possibly money laundering."

The Metropolitan Police operation follows sustained lobbying by anti-trafficking charity Croydon Community Against Trafficking (CCAT), which has protested about the use of trafficked women in the borough’s illegal massage parlours for more than five years.

D Insp Hyland, working in the clubs and vice unit, said the police wanted to work with newspapers in London to stamp out the advertisements.

So a single issue "charity" (is DI Kevin a member, I rather wonder?)has nagged (sorry, "lobbied") the Met to produce this brilliant campaign. I'm not surprised that it is unprecedented, either! Is there any precedent for blackmail by bthe police?

Would any of the offences cited hold up for a moment in court? I rather think this is simply a scare campaign - just as all the big Supermarkets are running scared of the anti-GM activists, I fear that local papers are going to be scared of being painted as supporting trafficking!

Interestingly the East Anglian Daily Times (a month ago) was carrying such advertisements for parlours and (what look like) indies, with a box at the top of the column reading: " Advertising in this section will be scrutuinised and full details will be given to Suffolk Constabulary and their partner agencies on a regular basis. Any criminal offences will be investigated."

at the end there is another, reading: "If anyone has any information that any person is being coerced or forced against their will or have any concerns for the welfare of any person, they should contact the Police Liaison Team on 07936 944787 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111"

And does anyone think that those will protect the publisher, any more than the normal law?

Edited by Irgendeiner

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The Met really are a useless bunch of tossers!!

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D Insp Kevin Hyland said: "It is an offence to advertise for prostitution. If newspapers do run adverts there is a possibility of prosecution.

Really? Grammar aside, it would be interesting to know the thinking behind that statement.

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D Insp Kevin Hyland said: "It is an offence to advertise for prostitution. If newspapers do run adverts there is a possibility of prosecution.
Really? Grammar aside, it would be interesting to know the thinking behind that statement.
Some of CCAT’s pronouncements are somewhat ludicrous, but I’m sure their heart’s in the right place and fully expect any pressure group these days to distort the truth to further their aims, but I find it rather distasteful when a member of the constabulary uses his position to embark on a personal moral crusade and distort both the law and facts in order to further his cause.

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Really? Grammar aside, it would be interesting to know the thinking behind that statement.

Could not help but substitute "prosecution" with "bit of cash under Proceeds of Crime"

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I fully support the aims of CCAT, but they are totally misguided in the way they go about achieving their objectives.

On the front page of their web site they say "Croydon is one of the biggest 'ports' for human trafficking in the UK. We want that to stop". Yet turning to their news archive, and going back a year, I find nothing about traffiked women being found in Croydon. The nearest was in Surrey, and the trial was held at Croydon. Other reports were about Ketting, Edinburgh, Belfast etc. etc.

Are we to believe that Croydon, which no longer has an airport, is not on the coast and hardly has a railway station, is the 'port' through which all these 'traffiked women' enter the UK? I don't think so.

Further down their home page they say "CCAT wants to free slaves of human trafficking in our town" - a very laudable aim, but judging by their own press archive, they do not enjoy much sucess in this enterprise.

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I fully support the aims of CCAT, but they are totally misguided in the way they go about achieving their objectives.

On the front page of their web site they say "Croydon is one of the biggest 'ports' for human trafficking in the UK. We want that to stop". Yet turning to their news archive, and going back a year, I find nothing about traffiked women being found in Croydon. The nearest was in Surrey, and the trial was held at Croydon. Other reports were about Ketting, Edinburgh, Belfast etc. etc.

Are we to believe that Croydon, which no longer has an airport, is not on the coast and hardly has a railway station, is the 'port' through which all these 'traffiked women' enter the UK? I don't think so.

Further down their home page they say "CCAT wants to free slaves of human trafficking in our town" - a very laudable aim, but judging by their own press archive, they do not enjoy much sucess in this enterprise.

I may be mistaken in my impression (I don't live in sunny Croydon), but this statement may stem from the fact that illegal immigrants when first detected in the UK are advised (and given a rail warrant) to travel (unaccompanied) to Croydon and visit the Home Office Immigration offices there to submit their applications to remain etc. It seems widely acknowledged that only a proportion of such persons actually travel to Croydon to enter the formal immigration process, but that is another matter. It may be that this article is referring to those persons who do travel to the Immigration offices in Croydon, though it is unclear why or if they all choose to then stay in Croydon :huh:

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This strikes me as sabre rattling by a combination of the Human Exploitation etc squad of the Met, CCAT and the Croydon paper. A prosecution couldn't succeed unless it could be established that the newspaper knew an illegal practice was taking place and could be established as knowingly furthering it. This would be very difficult. Besides, where does it end? Much stolen property may well be sold second hand through the advertising columns of newspapers, but to expect them to be aware of that would be ridiculous.

An advertisement in a local paper's personal column here in Wales has the word "Honeypot" and a cartoon of a bee, the words "Open late every night" and a phone number. That's all. It's for what's advertised on the net in far more explicit terms, but it would be difficult to prove the newspaper's advertising department acted as some kind of accomplice in what results.

There was much talk of the banning of sex ads being in Labour's manifesto. It wasn't as it so happens, probably because someone sane in the party realised that banning adverts such as that above would be extremely difficult to draft quite apart from being generally regarded as bonkers.

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I`ve recieved news through this morning from a local parlour owner that The Yellow Advertiser has now been leaned on by the Met and will no longer be accepting ads for Parlours. How true this Is I can`t say.

Seem`s in Essex at least we will have to rely on internet only ads.

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I`ve recieved news through this morning from a local parlour owner that The Yellow Advertiser has now been leaned on by the Met and will no longer be accepting ads for Parlours. How true this Is I can`t say.

Seem`s in Essex at least we will have to rely on internet only ads.

Funny! I always thought that it was the job of the police to uphold and enforce the law as passed by the parliament of our great nation, and interpreted by the judges, not the law as they, or the tabloids would like it to be! Alas, it now appears that I was wrong?

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