Saturday, 27 November 2010

I Can Only See One Way To Avoid This…

…and that’s for newspaper editors to personally check out all massage parlours before accepting adverts:
After six weeks of confusion and delay, police insist they are poised to send a letter to more than 170 London newspapers outlining plans to crack down on editors who publish adverts for massage parlours that turn out to be brothels containing trafficked women.
It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it….

The saga of the letter however, isn’t so amusing. Nor is the consideration behind it:
In October, we exclusively revealed police plans to get newspapers to stop running sex adverts.
ALL sex adverts. Not just those later found to be fronts for trafficking.

And whatever reservations you might have about this trade, it IS a legitimate business.
This will start with a letter to editors asking them to co-operate.
‘Or else…’
If they do not comply it is believed police will attempt to prosecute editors and publishers whose papers run adverts for brothels found to contain sex slaves for aiding and abetting sex trafficking using new laws passed last year.
Really? They’ve got the resources to waste on this, have they?

Would they not be better spent, then, going out and finding those breaking the law?
At the time, police were known to be working on a letter to be sent to editors detailing their plans.

However, within days the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) press office was spinning the story, with the head of department Ed Stearns insisting to one editor that no letter existed.
I wonder why?

Cold feet, perhaps? Queries over the legality of – in effect - warning businesses that they cannot accept advertising for other legal businesses or they will be held responsible for any illegal acts by those businesses?

You’d certainly hope so, wouldn’t you?
A few days later, a member of his staff confirmed the existence of a letter and said it was being checked by the Met’s legal team.
Yeah, I’ll just bet it was…
But no letter was sent, with a range of reasons being suggested, from key people being on holiday to the need to get a large number of senior officers to sign it off.
Who, if this all goes tits up when it’s put into practice, will no doubt be looking for a large hole to hide in…
Two weeks ago, Mr Stearns called Newsquest’s group editor for south west London and Bucks, Andy Parkes, admitting to the existence of the letter and confirming it would be sent to editors on November 22.

But Monday passed with no letter, fuelling fears the police might be watering it down under pressure from the newspaper industry.
But this week the press office insisted the letter would be sent out imminently.

A spokeswoman said: "Officers have seen from a considerable number of their investigations that advertising in newspapers can play a key role in facilitating the exploitation of trafficked victims for sexual services, with organised criminal networks seeking to advertise this crime through local newspapers or advertising journals.

"As a result, SCD9 [responsible for vice crime] is writing to editors of local London newspapers to ask them not to allow advertising space to be used to promote these practices.

"For the Croydon Guardian to suggest the MPS has been delaying sending the letter out is simply not true.

"We are committed to reducing the opportunity for criminal networks to continue their illegal activities and their exploitation of vulnerable people.

"This is just one way in which we are tackling this issue. The letter will be issued when it is ready, which is likely to be in the very near future."
My goodness, but it’s taking you a hell of a long time to issue a simple letter, isn’t it?

Naturally, the sort of single issue loons who are usually driving this kind of legislation are cock-a-hoop. Mainly because they don’t have the brainpower to envisage the legal slippery slope they are building…
Denise Marshall, the director of charity Eaves Housing, which helps trafficked women, said: “We are really pleased that the police are committed to tackling editors who advertise brothels in their publications.

"By making it more difficult for men to buy sex, this initiative could have the power to reduce the number of women being exploited in prostitution.

"We fully support the police’s initiative and commend Newsquest’s commitment to the issue."
Just as prohibition never succeeded, trying to stop men buying sex is like trying to hold back the tide. It can’t be done.
A CCAT spokesman said: “The Croydon Community Against Trafficking is deeply encouraged by the action the police are taking to enforce laws relating to the exploitation of people in our town and country.

Human trafficking exists in our town, and indeed all around the UK and is largely evident in the exploitation of women, through sexual services they are forced to perform.”
Does it? Does it really? The evidence seems to point the other way.

Yet that doesn't seem to be halting the police in their drive to sidestep that pesky 'proof' business altogether, does it?


Jiks said...

People should be worries by this and the other story you linked.

Being able evict people from their homes without proof/a court case or a criminal offence wasn't enough it seems. Now the police want to be able close down any business if it turns out a chain of other, unrelated businesses eventually connect to criminal activity?

Not a peep about the implications of this in the MSM and as The Party remains in charge of the country no Opposition to this either...

The Stigler said...

I'll bet the newspapers are pretty pissed about this.

For years, they've been cosy with the police over these raids, giving them publicity while at the same time titillating their readers.

But now it's going to actually affect their business. It won't stop the trade, of course. Like so much of government, the police are a decade or more behind on technology and sites like Punternet will just get more use (which is hosted in the US so untouchable by the police).

Well, tough shit, say I. They should have been pressing the police to deal with real crime for years rather than easy crime like prostitution. The sooner we get elected sheriffs who concentrate on real priorities, the better.

The Stigler said...

Incidentally, Eaves Housing are a fake charity.

Nick2 said...

I see from another site that Nominet is considering whether to accede to take-down requests made by "an(y?) identified UK Law Enforcement Agency"

So that could include Punternet type sites, opinion sites, basically anything that can tangentially be associated with

any activity that would
constitute an offence under UK Criminal law

Thankfully the offence of Criminal Libel was abolished by the Coroners & Justice Act 2009. But with the mission creep that this country excels in, once the principle of banning websites on request is established, how long before the blocklists administered by the IWF, initially to block child porn, are widened further that they already have been to include everything offshore that could/would be banned if it were UK hosted?

banned said...

It's not every potentially criminal activity that cares to advertise in the local press, you might have thought that the Police might take advantage of this rather than punish the publishers.
We have often been told how expensive it is to stake out premises to gather proof about 'immoral activity' yet here they are offering 'intelligence' to the Police on a plate.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Police Intelligence is an oxymoron.

JuliaM said...

"Not a peep about the implications of this in the MSM..."

It seems no-one does journalism any more. Except us.

"Incidentally, Eaves Housing are a fake charity."

Now, that does NOT surprise me!

"It's not every potentially criminal activity that cares to advertise in the local press, you might have thought that the Police might take advantage of this.."

Indeed! Shades of the 'FITWatch' debacle...