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

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.