The Spanish government has decided to ban adverts publicising sexual services from national newspapers.
President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said during a state of the nation speech that the ban is part of a strategy to fight people trafficking and sexual exploitation that was rife in the country.
"As long as these advertisements exist, they contribute to the idea of this activity as normal," the Guardian quoted him as saying.
The explicit adverts, which fill at least a page in most of Spain's dailies, are worth 40 million euros a year to the struggling newspaper industry.
The Association of Spanish Newspaper Editors has responded by saying that the logical policy would be for the government to make prostitution illegal.
"If it was illegal, then newspapers wouldn't carry the ads," a spokesman said.
The ban could prove to be a big problem for newspapers, which are earning the most from such form of advertising, and they would want to be compensated for the loss in revenue.
Yolanda Besteiro of the Progressive Women's Federation said no media outlet can call itself a defender of human rights if it publishes such kind of adverts, as it means they are agreeing to the idea of slavery.
Spain is the only European country where the "quality" press carries adverts for sex.
With the migration of most classified advertising to the Internet, prostitution now accounts for 60 percent of the Spanish classified ad market.
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