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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 10:14 GMT
Harman to discuss 'slave' adverts
Harriet Harman
Harriet Harman said the adverts were "ugly"
Minister for Women Harriet Harman is to discuss banning adverts for escort services with the Newspaper Society.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Ms Harman linked advertisements in some local titles with human trafficking.

She said: "The Newspaper Society and us need to sit down together and discuss whether this is acceptable in local newspapers, that girls are for sale."

David Newell, director of the Newspaper Society, said the group "takes this issue extremely seriously."

Police believe that about 4,000 women have been brought into Britain and forced to work as prostitutes.

'Big problem'

Ms Harman said the "ugly" adverts were published in some local newspapers alongside those for skip hire and lost pets.

She added: "You see 'girls for sale - girls from Europe, from Africa, from Thailand, fresh girls every week, 18 to 25'.

"What sort of message does this send in the 21st century?

"We do know that there is a big problem of people trafficking."

Mr Newell said that it was not always easy for publishers to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate adverts.

But he added that the Newspaper Society provides guidance on avoiding advertisements which may disguise sexual services.

He said: "It is understood that advertising will be refused if a publisher becomes aware of any illegal conduct on the part of the advertiser."

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