Motorists returning to parked vehicles often find visiting cards offering massage services on the window. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Dubai: Business cards soliciting massage services have become more than just a mere nuisance — every day, at any given time, at any parking lot across the city, residents are bombarded with cards on their car windows, under windshield wipers as well as at their homes.

“I live in International City and prostitution is extremely high there. If you park your car in any area, you can find the cards from prostitutes with a woman’s photo in the name of a massage centre, and get at least 10 cards a week at my flat door,” said a resident, who declined to be named.

“Thousands of families live in International City, and imagine how we feel when we see customers in the lifts and corridors every day,” he said.

Others have also had massage cards distributed to them by people standing near Metro stations, such as the stops at Emirates Towers and Financial Centre.

A senior official at the Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED) explained that advertising on business cards is illegal, and as per an agreement between the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Interior, companies are not permitted to have employees distribute business cards on streets.

“Our inspectors sometimes pose as customers to confirm whether any illegal activities take place and, based on that, the inspectors will then take appropriate action, in addition to imposing fines,” he said.

Hashim Ali, who works on Shaikh Zayed Road, said: “These types of cards have become a joke because no matter where I park, whether it’s for a day or only a few hours, there’s always these massage advertisements stuck on the car door or on the window,” he said.

Residents said although this type of advertising is not new, they have noticed that the numbers have increased from it being meticulously placed on their cars from a few times a week to almost a daily occurrence.

“Last year, the number of cards I saw in one week were nearly not as bad as to what I see now. Every morning, there’s always two or three cards and it’s the same names of massage places that keep popping up,” said Jaber M., who lives in Al Barsha.

Dubai Municipality has also addressed its concern over unwarranted methods of advertising, including business cards and leaflets placed on the front gates of people’s homes, as they have to sweep up the streets after residents toss them away on the floor.

“Companies should advertise on billboards, television or on the radio. It is not allowed to place business cards or pamphlets on residents’ private property,” said Abdul Majeed Saifaie, director of waste management department at Dubai Municipality.

“When we collect the posters and advertisements from the streets, we immediately notify the companies involved and fine them anywhere from Dh500 to Dh100,000,” he said.