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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hard rub down for illicit massage centres in Dubai

BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 22 March 2010

The authorities in Dubai have stopped issuing trading licences to new massage centres, in light of an increase in illicit activities that have been reported at such hubs in different parts of the Emirate.
Sources from the government licensing authorities have revealed to The Gulf Today that about 25 per cent of the inspected massage centres were found to be involved in illegal activities.
Meanwhile, a one-year timeframe has been given to massage parlours operating in flats or other premises located in residential areas to relocate to commercial premises, said a senior official at Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).
Omar Bushahab, CEO of Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Division at the DED, said, "The issuance of the final warning to the massage centres operating in residential premises aims at making their operations transparent to the authorities and block illegitimate activities behind the curtains."
"The licences to massage parlours at flats, villas or other isolated and secluded residential premises will not be renewed. Such operators should move to commercial centres such as resorts, shopping malls, hotels or similar public areas, where the inspections and access are transparent," he added.
"About 162 massage centres are currently operating in different parts of the Emirate, and the number is sufficient to serve the present population of the city. So, there's no question of giving working permissions to new massage parlours," Bushahab revelaed.
"The DED has reviewed the current scenario, which requires imposing of updated regulations and specifications. A code of conduct is on the anvil for the massage centres," he noted.
Bushahab pointed out, "The DED officials have carried out inspection visits to at least 34 massage parlours in February, and 25 per cent of them were found to be not adhering with the regulatory measures. Ladies were providing massage services to men, and visa versa, at many massage centres, acts which invite stringent punitive action."
"Contraceptives and other pregnancy-preventing stuff have been confiscated from four massage parlours, during the DED visits to at least 21 such centres in the city. The workers in the centres were also caught for being naked while offering their services to customers," he said.
"Fines ranging from Dhs2,000 to Dhs10,000 will be imposed on violators of the rules, as per the seriousness of violations, in operating massage centres in the Emirate. Further penal actions including closure of the outlets both temporarily and permanently are on the cards," explained Bushahab.
"Violations committed more than three times will lead to temporary closure and if repeated again, the trading licence will be cancelled permanently," he noted.
"About 90 per cent of the city's massage parlours are operated by Chinese nationals, while the rest are from Thailand and some other European countries," revealed Bushahab.

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