In an effort to prevent criminals from using their newspapers to promote the services of women who have been trafficked and forced into prostitution, two of Mexico’s largest publishing groups have banned sex advertisements from their pages.
Grupo Reforma, publisher of El Reforma and Metro, along with the publisher of El Universal and El Grafico, has stopped accepting advertisement for sexual services and challenged other media organizations to do the same. By no longer publishing the thinly-veiled solicitations for prostitution that fill the back pages of their periodicals, publishers hope to help combat the sexual exploitation of women and children in Mexico.
El Universal’s president also said that the newspaper would provide free advertising space for organizations involved in the fight against human trafficking.
Sex trafficking is a growing problem for Mexico, which ranks fifth in terms of number of trafficking victims in Latin America. The Mexican Attorney General’s office’s Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes against Women has investigated 1,500 cases of missing women since 2008, many of whom are thought to have been forced into prostitution.
Mexico’s federal government passed a law against human trafficking in 2007 and the issue is of concern to regional governments as well. In July, the south-central state of Hidalgo passed a law to punish anyone who promotes or facilitates prostitution, including newspaper publishers, with up to 18 years in jail.