Manama: Massage parlours in Kuwait have been given one week to comply with the new rules in order to avoid facing legal action that included shutting down their facility.
Rules conveyed earlier to the owners called for restructuring the parlours to remove doors to all massage rooms and end the complete privacy that is misused.
The owners were told that the new rules applied starting October 1, but a team on a field inspection in Salmiya and Hawalli discovered that most parlours did not comply — prompting them to warn owners and giving them seven days to comply before action is taken, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported on Tuesday.
The representative of the municipality on the morals inspection team said that dozens of parlour owners and investors were warned during the evening raid on Monday evening.
"All the cases were related to the failure to remove the doors to the rooms," Zaid Al Enezi said.
"They were warned that non-compliance with the rules would mean shutting down the parlour immediately and without hesitation. There are many unethical practices behind closed rooms that should be addressed.
"We found various kinds of makeup that are normally used by women. We were also shocked that most of the clients were young men less than 18 years old."
Al Enezi added that dealing with unethical practices was not limited to the government and urged Kuwaiti citizens and expatriates to report parlours that do not comply with the rules and regulations.
"It is a shared responsibility and we need to protect our youth. We succeeded in the past in removing cabins in cafés and we now need to work on ensuring massage parlours do not break the law."
Young men will be sent to the parlours posing as clients to assess the extent of compliance with the rules, he added.
The morals committee is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Interior and Kuwait Municipality.
Homosexuality and cross-dressing are against the law in Kuwait and convicted homosexuals could face up to 10 years in prison, if the engaged parties are under the age of 21.
In August, a local newspaper reported that Kuwait deported 76 homosexuals and shut down 22 massage parlours in the first eight months of the year.
The gay men were apprehended during nationwide campaigns aimed at enforcing the law regulating massage parlours.