Newspapers which publish sex adverts could face prosecution by the Metropolitan Police.
As part of an investigation into sex trafficking, the Croydon Guardian reports that a senior police officer saying editors who continue to run adverts for brothels could be arrested.
Vice squad detective inspector Kevin Hyland told the paper: It is an offence to advertise for prostitution. If newspapers do run adverts there is a possibility of prosecution. The legislation we are thinking of using is aiding and abetting offences of controlling prostitution for gain, offences of trafficking under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and possibly money laundering.
A Croydon Guardian article claims sex adverts were estimated to be worth more than £44m for the regional press in 2006.
A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Service said its Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command was a specialist unit tackling trafficking and prostitution and a number of people had been jailed in recent months. She said: In many of these investigations, the organised criminal networks have sought to advertise through local newspapers or advertising journals.
It is important that everyone plays their part in trying to reduce the opportunity of criminal networks to continue their illegal activities and their exploitation of vulnerable people through advertising sexual services. The MPS is working with the media to tackle this.