Advertisements for massage parlours and escort agencies are to be banned in the next government assault on the sex industry.
Ministers plan to disrupt the sex industry by banning newspaper advertisements for prostitutes and brothels in a new law put forward in Labour's election manifesto. Failure to comply with the law could carry a £10,000 fine.
The clampdown is being led by Vera Baird, the solicitor-general, and Harriet Harman, the equality minister.
They are concerned that a request to remove the adverts has had only partial success. Although The Newspaper Society succeeded in persuading some newspaper groups to stop carrying them, ministers are concerned that many others have failed to do
The Crown Prosecution Service has already studied a similar law in Ireland and concluded that it would work in the UK.
The new law would also inform publishers which kind of ads will be banned by defining, for example, the difference between a massage parlour which is actually a brothel and spas offering therapeutic massages.
Sex phone lines, carried in many tabloid newspapers, would not be caught by the law unless they are a front for arranging prostitution.
It would also make it a criminal offence to print or distribute telephone-box cards advertising prostitutes. Under the current law, it is an offence only to be caught in the act of posting such a card.
Baird said: It is now appropriate to move against people who make money from advertising prostitutes. The Newspaper Society tightened its guidance on taking such ads but there is still a market that we now have to look to legislation to disrupt.