Massage centers in the UAE are coming under fire from residents who say the “shady” businesses are enticing customers with business cards and brochures which show racy images of women offering a ‘home service” and only a mobile phone number listed.
“Massage centers do not promote themselves by using pictures of barely-dressed women, because if a person wants to get a massage they look for a qualified masseuse, not an attractive one,” said Anne, a 34-year-old Greens resident, according to the Gulf News
Officials warn such services may not be licensed centers. Instead, they could be run by unqualified providers carrying diseases or with criminal intent such as theft.
In order to drop brochures or business cards anywhere in Dubai, the Dubai Economic Departmen
t (DED) must first issue approval of such a promotional effort. “No matter what the type of business is, DED has to approve any advertising,” said Mohammad Al Shael, CEO of Business Registration and Licensing Division at DED, Gulf News reports.
Another 39-year-old father of an eight-year-old and a five-year-old called the “shady” businesses an effort to “lure people.” Dubai police are encouraging residents to call reports of suspicious activity, including distribution of advertising material.
In Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, authorities shut down
six massage centers last year over rules and conditions violations. There are more than 1,000 massage centers in the city, and an official with the Abu Dhabi Municipality said it relies on the ‘mystery shopper’ approach in which municipality workers pose as customers, recording observations and informing authorities of violators.