The Government has rebuffed an attempt by the advertising industry
to tackle the problem of prostitutes’ cards being left in public
The Advertising Association has acted as an ’honest broker’ in talks
between the Home Office and telephone companies on legislation aimed at
stamping out the practice.
Under a deal proposed by the AA, BT and other telephone operators
offered to bar calls to the phone numbers listed on the cards if the
Government promised to make posting the cards a criminal offence.
But AA bosses fear the agreement will collapse because ministers are
refusing to legislate in the current Parliamentary session, claiming
there is no time available.
Ad industry figures are dismayed and say the Home Office could have
tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill now going through
’The Bill was a golden opportunity to act but it seems that it will be
missed,’ an industry source said. ’This is a big problem, notably in
adland in Soho, and we thought we had reached a compromise on how to
About 13 million cards advertising male and female sexual services are
removed from 1,000 phone boxes in Central London each year, and there
are also problems in several other towns and cities.
The Home Office admits that attempts to use laws covering litter,
criminal damage and indecency have failed. In a consultation paper last
year, it proposed that leaving sexually explicit cards in phone boxes
should be punishable by a fine of up to pounds 1,000.