The Croydon Advertiser has dropped adverts for ‘adult services’ from its pages following pressure from activists and police.
Eastlondonlines reported in December that the paper’s owners Northcliffe Media had promised to reform their advertising policy from January 1 after warnings that escort services and massage parlours could support human trafficking.
Friday’s edition of the Advertiser included none of the controversial adverts, although local blog, Inside Croydon, reported that some January issues still featured the same “tawdry ads.”
Northcliffe Media, a subsidiary of the Daily Mail group, today refused any further comment, citing only a statement given when the issue was first uncovered in December.
The company 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.”
But Advertiser editor Glenn Ebrey tweeted on January 30: “We have now ceased to run such adverts, in line with the Met’s guidelines.”
And: “Our policy is now clear – we will not publish escort agency/massage parlour adverts in the Croydon Advertiser.”
Ebrey said some had “appeared in error” at the start of the month but that this would not happen again.
A spokesman for Croydon Community Against Trafficking, which accused the newspaper of putting “profit before human care” in December, welcomed the move.
The group 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.’”
CCAT said it would watch future editions closely to check the policy is enforced.
Police warned London papers in 2010 that they could be criminally liable unless they took steps to ensure their advertisers have no links to criminal activity.