BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, July 15, 2011 ( – Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has banned all prostitution advertisements in newspapers and other mass media in the South American country in an effort to combat violence and the sex trafficking of women.

The three-page declaration, released by the government earlier this week, prohibits “advertisements that promote sex for hire or make explicit or implicit reference to soliciting people for sexual commerce.”  Any messages or images that “promote the exploitation of women” or “abuse, defame, discriminate, dishonour, humiliate or threaten the dignity of women” have been outlawed. 

The Office of Monitoring of Publication of Advertisements of Sexual Commerce will be established in the Justice Ministry for the purpose of regulating the ban.  Although the government has not yet developed regulations, the ban will take effect today. 

Argentina’s Justice Minister, Julio Alak, has said Internet advertising will be the next target for sex ads. “It began with print media and it will continue with the Internet,” Alak said.

In her announcement, President Kirchner spoke pointedly against large newspapers within the country that frequently run extensive ads.

“There is the sexual bidding [in the classifieds] that leaves fat profits for the journalistic businesses that do this type of thing,” said Kirchner.

One business, Grupo Clarin SA, which runs Arentina’s largest newspaper and television network, has been particularly targeted.  The newspaper’s Area 59 section, says President Kirchner, is known for its extensive sexual advertizing.

Last year, Argentine cabinet chief Aníbal Fernández accused the company of “double morals.”  According to the cabinet minister, the newspaper ran columns against sex trafficking, while also publishing thousands of ads for prostitutes, which he estimated brought the company nearly $250,000 a month.

Many women’s groups and the U.S. ambassador have praised President Kirchner’s ban and efforts against sex trafficking. “Many countries will appreciate seeing the effects that this decree will bring in the fight against this crime,” wrote U.S. Ambassador Vilma Martinez in an open letter to Kirchner.