Massage parlours are locations where massage services are provided for a fee.
There are hundreds in operation globally, and some of them offer provisional sexual services. It’s important to note that:
- Massage parlours are legal, but the provision of sexual services is not always legal.
- There are known cases where massage parlours are inaccurately associated with sex work, leading to harmful generalisations.
- While many sex workers operate willingly and independently as agents of their own bodies, it’s important to note that not everyone who offers sexual services does so because they want to. Some are vulnerable individuals who are, in fact, victims of exploitation.
- In massage parlours illegally providing sexual services, the criminal nature of the act does not limit demand and can attract organised crime, including trafficking. Additionally, it can make it difficult for workers to vocalise or negotiate their boundaries and consent.
- Many massage parlours employ foreign workers, a proportion of whom might be in the country illegally. Uncertain immigration status makes an individual more susceptible to exploitation – and less likely to seek support. Additionally, those legally within a country may find themselves facing deportation if caught participating in illegal activity.
- Sex workers face greater risk of violence than the general population.
Do you visit massage parlours or spas or know someone who does? STOP THE TRAFFIK has created a free resource as part of its #SpotTheSigns collection, encouraging individuals to learn how to recognise exploitation. Do not engage in sexual activity if you suspect that the sex worker is being forced or exploited – you are committing an offence if you do.
Are you a sex worker looking for free, confidential advice or support?
Here are some organisations that can help.
In the UK:
In the US:
If you or someone you know is being exploited and in immediate danger, contact trusted local authorities. In the UK, you can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline or Crimestoppers for free, confidential advice and support. In the US, you can contact the National Human Trafficking hotline.
If you would like to report suspicious activity anonymously and confidentially, download The STOP APP today.