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Wednesday, October 24, 2007


It is well worth quoting in full the question asked of the Leader of the House by Labour Torfaen AM, Lynn Neagle, yesterday. Although her intervention received quite extensive coverage on the BBC for some reason the Western Mail failed to cover it this morning. How strange.

This is what she said:

Lynne Neagle: Will the Leader of the House consider providing time for a debate on Welsh Assembly Government advertising? Members will be aware that this institution pays the Media Wales Group in excess of £3 million per annum on advertising for Assembly jobs. However, Members may not be aware of some of the double standards employed by those newspapers in relation to their advertising.

In Thursday’s South Wales Echo, the paper ran a hard-hitting expose of how sex trafficking impacts upon young, vulnerable women from across the world now living in Cardiff. The paper detailed their ordeals of rape, beatings and abuse, and went on to name three massage parlours where these beaten and raped women were forced to work. In the very same newspaper, adverts were carried for several massage parlours, including all three parlours mentioned in that horrific story.

These adverts net the paper roughly a cool £1,000 per day. While paying tribute to the journalism and investigative work that has uncovered this scandal, we must question the management of the paper.This advertising, carried through papers with whom we advertise, rakes in roughly £0.5 million per year for Media Group Wales.That makes it, at least in my eyes, the richest pimp in south Wales.

Will the Leader of the House therefore urgently consider a debate on the Assembly Government’s advertising policy, with a view to imposing a moratorium on our placing advertisements alongside organisations that are known to be involved in the scandal of sex trafficking?
Astounding! More power to Lynne Neagle's elbow on this one. Not sure what's more disgraceful - the adverts themselves or the WM's Pravda-esque failiure to report them. Peter, you should not let them get away with this.
This is really shameful. Talk about a cover up. The Western Mail should be ashamed of themselves.
Who gives a toss about the papers hypocracy?

Surely the issue here is that people are being kept as slaves and raped in order for some people to make profit in Wales in the 21st Centaury?

Why is the goverment not doing more to combat that?
"Who gives a toss about the papers hypocracy?" (sic)

Erm... lots of people, Matt. It's churlish to not give credit where it's due - thanks to the efforts of a backbencher or two, the Assembly will be looking at the whole, vile issue of trafficking in proper detail. Lynne Neagle is also trying to stop public money being used in papers that tacitly support the trade.

Of course the main issue is the disgusting abuse that these young women suffer. That does not, however, make the behaviour of Wales' national newspaper any less despicable.
Of course the government at all levels need to do more than just (threaten to) take away add revenue to protect people trapped in the sex trade. Although not exactly the same thing, I find it strange that papers cover stories about climate change and the damaged caused by air-travel, but at the same time their Travel supplements are full of information about holidays the other side of the world and pages upon pages of cheap flight deals.
Matt - are you for real? The papers in question have been exposed as promoting sex trafficking at one step removed. How is that not an issue? Surely through this debate, Ms Neagle and others have found a very real way in which the Assembly can tackle the sex trafficking which leads to these women being abused in Wales?
No, the Assembly has talked about whether the paper has acted in a stupid manor, which I of course agree it has. But what my arguement is that the Assembly's response to the paper revealing that there is a people trafficking problem in Cardiff is to tell the paper of for advertising brothels.

I do not believe that the paper purposefully promoted sex trafficking. They just have an advertising department that doesn't talk to the rest of the paper. Hopefully the paper will now think twice when adverts are placed, but it is a very small step in fighting a trade which is worth a lot of money to some incredibly evil individuals.

A proper response from Ms Neagle's goverment collegues would be for the Assembly to have a proper debate on the whole people smuggling and prostitution issue and to put pressure on the Westminister government to act, not to stop advertising with one paper.
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