In my previous post I said that I thought that the Croydon Advertiser had increased its prices for advertising, and this was why there were only a couple of sex ads in a recent issue and those were for a couple of escort agencies. Now I have learned that this newspaper has been forced to remove all sex ads. There is a blog post explaining what has happened.
The ban is supposed to be to reduce trafficking. However, if there are trafficked women in Croydon then why can't the police find them and rescue them? It's not going to make it easier to find trafficked women when there is no advertising. Where is the evidence that trafficking is widespread?
These sex ads weren't just for brothels and escort agencies, they were for independent sex workers too. They are going to suffer. They will have less work, less money, and may have to start doing things they don't really want to do, perhaps more dangerous things. The purpose of the ban seems to be to try and get rid of prostitution in any form.
Campaigners may think that prostitution requires advertising to exist. That is wrong. Prostitution can survive underground. It is already underground in the West African community. Driving prostitution underground will increase trafficking and make women more reliant on pimps. Some men who are denied access to willing independent sex workers would seek out these pimps.
There have been some posts about these issues on this blog.
Sadvertiser bows to pressure and drops brothel ads
Brothel ads are fine with me, says Croydon councillor
This post is quite interesting. It states what campaigning organization CCAT (Croydon Community Against Trafficking) believe.
CCAT “believe that allowing adverts for sexual services to be printed in local newspapers promotes and encourages the enslavement of women and children and fuels business and profits for traffickers and pimps.
“Now common front-page headlines about sexual attack and assaults on women, printed weekly in our local papers, cannot be disassociated from the advertisements for all kinds of sexual services printed in the back of the newspapers.”
CCAT believes “that the very base concept of ‘supply and demand’ for enslaved women and children is being perpetuated by this advertising”.
So CCAT thinks that women and children are enslaved because of prostitution. They think that violence against women is increased because of prostitution. They have no evidence for this. There is no research that shows this.
This post also gives the opinion of Brian Cooke chairman of Orpington Conservatives.
“You will never stop the sex trade. Being open and clear with girls in flats advertising legally is far better than being on street corners or driving them underground.”
I think that Brian Cooke has got it right.
When I go into Soho I pick up a copy of the free newspaper 'West End Extra' in Berwick Street. It has a 'Personal Services' section where there are lots of sex ads. I hope this newspaper will be able to continue without interference from prohibitionists.
I think that what has happened is that CCAT has been writing to other advertisers in the Croydon Advertiser and telling them the ususal rubbish about trafficking. CCAT may have suggested that these advertisers threaten to boycott the Croydon Advertiser, saying that they have to choose between them and us. If you don't remove the sex ads we will not longer advertise with you.
Most people think of trafficking as a some kind of immigration fraud, perhaps involving forged passports and people coming into the country hidden in the back of lorries. They think that women and children are being coerced and bought and sold by gangsters. Nearly all non-EU prostitutes in London have not been coerced but have chosen to join with an agency in their country of origin. They are no more trafficked that domestic or agricultural workers. I'm not saying everything is fine with them (or with domestic or agricultural workers), but their situation can only be improved with regulation. Before you can have regulation you have to have legalisation.
What I don't like about CCAT is that they are a dishonest organisation. They are dishonest in three ways. Firstly they use false statistics to back their claims. Secondly they pretend that all they want is to end trafficking and slavery for women and children (something we would all want) when what they really want is an end to all forms of prostitution. They are an odd assemblage of radical feminists, religious people and social conservatives. Thirdly they pretend that they give a damn about what happens to the women whose lives they affect. They don't care if the women are deported, if they are made poorer, or if they have to go deeper into a criminal underworld where they are more prone to violence.