For the past six months The Mercury newspaper has published a daily advertisement from foreign prostitutes openly advertising unsafe sex without condoms, and the ABC doesn’t care.

The ad offers Natural Services – code for sexual services without a condom – and if you call the attached phone number it is clear the women involved are foreigners. The sexual services on offer include vaginal and anal sex, with an extra charge for no condom.

At a cost of $23 per day, The Mercury would have earned over $4,000 from this single ad in the last six months, and there have also been other ads offering Natural or Nat Services. The lucrative revenue stream might explain why they don’t bother checking the content of these ads, but it doesn’t excuse The Mercury’s duty of care to the community they claim to serve.

The Mercury already has a history of bad judgement in this area. In 2009 they published an ad for “Angela 18” who was actually a 12yo schoolgirl being prostituted by her own mother. Terry Martin was destroyed, the schoolgirl was traumatised, and the girl’s mother and pimp were jailed. But The Mercury just keeps on publishing these ads, all care and no responsibility.

This was raised with the ABC weeks ago, but they seem uninterested and have done nothing with it, so the ads are still being published today. Meanwhile, The Kirby Institute has just revealed the rate of HIV in heterosexual Australian men is inexplicably rising, and new approaches are needed to stem the rise.