UAE | Crime

Relax, don't do it: Massage can be a crime in Dubai

Anyone succumbing to the lure of unlicensed masseuse could face prison and deportation

  • By Jay B. Hilotin, Chief Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 January 26, 2012

Hawkers hand out business cards to passers-by near the Khalid Bin Waleed Metro Station
  • Image Credit: Jay B. Hilotin/XPRESS
  • Hawkers hand out business cards to passers-by near the Khalid Bin Waleed Metro Station with offers of a relaxing massage treatment.

DUBAI: A customer hiring an unlicensed masseuse and going with her to an unlicensed massage parlour risks jail time and deportation, warned lawyers.

"If a person gets a massage from outside a licensed centre by someone who has no licence to perform it, then he could face jail if arrested. If he is an expatriate, the penalty may also include deportation," said lawyer Hassam Al Haes of Al Rowaad Advocates in Dubai.

Sexual crime

"In general, people should be wary of women in public places making random offers of massage. If you want to have a massage treatment, then go to licensed massage centres," he said.

"Otherwise, a person who does this is taking a big risk, for the simple reason that it will be considered a crime of a sexual nature," said Al Haes.

The lawyer was responding to a query by XPRESS following the arrest of a 53-year-old Pakistani man charged for inciting women to commit sin by going with three women to their apartment after they promised him a "nice, relaxing massage".

The man, who met the Ethiopian women at a Deira pub, said things went bad when he saw the two of them stealing his belongings while the other took off his clothes to get him ready for the promised treatment.

The man reported the matter to police - but he, too, was arrested.

Prosecutors charged the women with prostitution.

Yasser Awad, associate legal consultant of Saeed Al Ghailani Advocates, said: "It is against the law to be in a closed room with the opposite sex who is not your spouse, especially when you admit that you were undressed and the masseuse is not licensed."

Last year, Dubai Police launched a campaign jointly with the Department of Economic Development to curb the presence of massage girls distributing business cards on roadsides, parking lots and even residential apartments. The cards showed young girls in skimpy suits offering door-to-door service but the cards had nothing to prove that the girls belonged to licensed massage centres.

Col Jamal Al Jallaf, Deputy Director of Dubai Police's Criminal Investigation Department for Administration and Control, told reporters last year that they have cracked down on the social menace in areas targeted by the girls. He said police would also raid any apartment suspected of harbouring such illegal activity.

  • Federal Law 3 of 1987 (Criminal Code) of UAE:
  • Article (121)- If an expatriate is sentenced to jail in a felony or a misdemeanour, the court may order deportation. Deportation should be ordered in felonies of chastity. In case of misdemeanours, the court may judge deportation instead of giving a jail term approved for misdemeanour.
  • Article (360) - Whoever is found, in public, inciting passers-by of libertinism (promiscuity) with words or signs shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not less than six months.

Comments (12)

  1. Added 14:03 January 26, 2012

    Newspapers should check their own classifieds as there are a lot of advertisements for unlicensed massage girls. I think they should stop the whole section from tomorrow itself. I dont know why newspapers themselves are promoting this.

    x, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:01 January 26, 2012

    All such business cards should be reported to the police for further investigation. Informers should be rewarded. This is the only easy solution. Nowadays hotels are targeting girls to bring customers and use hotel rooms as parlours. These hotels also earn through visas and room charges and the occupancy remains full.

    Huzefa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 13:43 January 26, 2012

    I work near Lamcy Plaza. Every day I my car windshileds has atleast two visiting cards from these massagers. I think the authorities (RTA ticket inspectors, CID, Police) should nab them. Since it has all the details including a location map on the visiting card, it will be easy to find them and punish if they are illegal.

    AU, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 13:42 January 26, 2012

    Read the news about unlicenced masage parlours I once went to a legal masage centre - they had a legal licence with a big signboard prominently displayed. Despite all this police raided the centre and they detained more than 20 people - some of them having flights on the same night and they detained them for more than 27 hours and released them without telling them about whey they were detained. Given this, I would not suggest anybody to go to such centers even if they hold licence.

    kashif, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 13:06 January 26, 2012

    It is very easy for the police to get hold of these service providers by making a call as customer.The business card of these service providers are almost everyday kept in the windshields of cars in parking lots.Then why is it difficult to stop this menace?

    FCV, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 13:00 January 26, 2012

    Very good move and thanks to XPRESS for reporting it. I would like to request crime-fighters to look into websites such as:; and, who have advertised former USSR countries telephone numbers, who claim to supply ladies to your doorstep or you can go to their location (usually 4 and 5 star hotels).

    Adnan Ansari, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 10:31 January 26, 2012

    These are cards handed to people in Deira. Usually it is South-East Asian women who stand in groups calling out to men for sex I have seen them. What are the authorities doing about this?

    Farha, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 10:05 January 26, 2012

    Will the girlfriends of the English cricketers also be arrested as they too are not married. Or does this only apply to some nationalities?

    Annonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 10:00 January 26, 2012

    I have earlier written an e-mail to Gulf News. I work in Karama and park my car in the parking lot behind United Furniture. Almost every evening, there are massage cards stuck in the car windows. If it is illegal, why arren't these so-called massage parlours raided and closed down? They are, after all, providing their contact numbers. Maybe an undercover policeman can call and get the location and then raid the place.

    J, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 09:08 January 26, 2012

    If u walk from Hayat signal to Baniyas Metro Station you will get a minimum of three visiting cards for massage. They are obviously all working illegaly and offering sex for money. Police has to take this issue seriously and take necessary action against such types of illegal workers and supporters.

    Anees, Dubai, India

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