Campaigners against sex slavery have welcomed the decision by this newspaper to ban all adult services ads.

The ads have been removed from the paper and our website with immediate effect, along with other Newsquest-owned newspapers across the country.

Andy Parkes, group editor at Newsquest South London, said: "Despite operating in accordance with industry guidelines, the company has taken a decision to no longer publish adult services advertisements, either in print or on its websites.

"Increasing concerns regarding the appalling issue of human trafficking has been significant in this decision, which is effective immediately."

Campaign groups have welcomed the move.

A spokesman from Croydon Community Against Trafficking said: "The Croydon Community Against Trafficking has been campaigning passionately to reduce the demand for trafficked women in Croydon and neighbouring boroughs for almost three years.

"A big focus has always been the role of the media, such as newspapers, in cutting off demand to reduce supply' of the women who are being enslaved in our town.

"After thousands of letters and the shouts of a loud and concerned community, Newsquest and their local papers have responded in a brilliant way.

"We are pleased that Newsquest have had the boldness to lead in an industry that has historically been complicit in the trafficking of women by allowing these victims to be sold via adult adverts in their family publications.

"We hope that the other newspapers in our borough, which have otherwise entirely ignored their readers' calls for justice, will follow the example now set by Newsquest and the local newspapers it publishes."

Ruth Dearnley of Stop The Traffik said: "Stop the Traffik welcomes this stance Newsquest has taken in recognising the potential within the sex industry for the exploitation of trafficked people.

"We hope this encourages local authorities, businesses and enforcement agencies to work together within their communities to stop the trafficking."

And a spokesman for the Salvation Army, which has also worked to reduce sex trafficking in the community, added: "We are thrilled at Newsquest's decision to pull adverts for adult services in their publications.

"The link between these adverts and the supply of trafficked women to meet these demands has been well documented, and we would like to see other publications now following this example.

"This issue is not one that can or should be brushed under the carpet, and we hope that this bold step by Newsquest will raise awareness of the issue and the importance of taking action on behalf of those who are voiceless."

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