Dubai: Going for a massage can be a far from relaxing experience with the spread of unqualified and unregistered massage centres offering dubious services in Dubai.
Gulf News has been receiving complaints from residents that they often find business cards and leaflets, offering massage services, on their doorstep or car windshields, which in many cases contain offensive images of scantily-clad women.
"This can't be a legal massage parlour," said Anne, a 34-year-old Greens resident. "Massage centres 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," she said.
Hard to explain
A Deira resident said the cards he finds on his car every morning when he is about to take his children to school are very offensive and hard to explain to his eight-year-old and five-year-old children. "How can they be allowed to promote their services like this in a residential area where families and children live?" 39-year-old Riad said.
"This is clearly a shady business to lure people," he said. The authorities, however, say massage parlours are not allowed to promote their services this way. Licensed spas or massage centres must get approval of the authorities before they drop their business cards or brochures anywhere, according to Dubai Police. Residents are encouraged to call the police in case they come across any suspicious activity, which includes the illegal distribution of advertising material.
Many business cards that advertise a ‘home service' carry only the picture of a woman and a mobile phone number, which is not how licensed centres work. Even if the card belongs to a licensed centre, they should still abide by regulations in distributing their cards. Those who use home services do so at their own risk, as these providers, besides being unlicensed and unqualified, may have diseases or enter houses with criminal intent, such as theft, police warn.
One of these regulations is obtaining the approval of the Dubai Economic Department (DED) before starting any promotional campaign.
"No matter what the type of business is, DED has to approve any advertising," Mohammad Al Shael, CEO of Business Registration and Licensing Division at DED, said.
Police have advised residents to call Dubai Police on 901 to report these activities, or contact Al Ameen Service on 4004888 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org