Massage parlours turn into sex brothels

HARARE - Unscrupulous “massage parlours” are pushing traditional and legitimate operators out of business by offering sex work.

Many massage spas in major towns are offering what they call “extras” on top of internationally recognised forms of body massage such as Swedish, Indian, Rungu, Thai Foot massage and Hot Stone therapy in a bid to lure customers.

Some of these unconventional “massage parlours” regularly advertise their “extra” services in newspapers with phrases like “more than just a body massage,” “exotic and sensual” and “open-minded  therapists”.

The Daily News on Sunday recently contacted through WhatsApp several “massage parlours” hoping to fish out those offering extras. We started with one that had advertised “more than just a body massage” in a local daily paper. We pretended to be looking for a parlour offering extras on behalf of a friend.

Here was the exchange:

Daily News on Sunday: A friend is coming into the country soon and he asked me to shop around for some really special massage services. What do you offer that will really excite my friend?

Massage Parlour Six: We do all types of massages.

Daily News on Sunday: Thanks. Can you list them so that I can forward to the guy?

Massage Parlour Six: Swedish massage for $20, nuru massage $25, Greek and chocolate $35.

Daily News on Sunday: Any special extras kkkk

Massage Parlour Six: Yes we offer extras.

Daily News on Sunday: Which ones?

At that point she refused to give more details despite our concerted efforts.

We contacted another one that had advertised about “open-minded therapists” again through WhatsApp.

Here is how the second exchange went:

Daily News on Sunday: A friend is coming into the country soon and he asked me to shop around for some really special massage services. Do you offer extras that will really excite my friend?

Massage Parlour Four: We do all types of massages.

Daily News on Sunday: Thanks. Can you list them so that I can forward to the guy?

Massage Parlour Four: Shower to shower therapy, body to body and erotic massage. I can’t explain further, if you want come to us. We charge from $10 an hour.

She refused to offer more details.

Efforts to get comments from qualified and registered therapists did not yield much with most of them claiming that speaking to the press would scare away their clients.

An experienced professional therapist who agreed to speak to us using the pseudonym Maria Moyo conceded that they are losing business to unethical players who are in it mostly for the money.

“People should go to school before venturing into any field.  It is painful to pay tax periodically in an environment where other people just come and make money through illegal means that destroy the reputation of the industry by offering sex massage,” Moyo said.

She added that professional therapists had tried their best to curb the practice through engaging responsible authorities but their efforts had come to naught due to rampant corruption in the country.

“We have reported the practice to the police and we have also campaigned for beauty spas owners to regularise and professionalise their operations but for your own information nothing has changed so far. Instead, illegal beauty spas are mushrooming on a daily basis,” Moyo said, adding the situation was rapidly getting worse.

“We used to have an association of massage parlour operators in Zimbabwe which ran under the name Zaptab in the early 2000s but it no longer exists.

“We no longer attend workshops that were common back then. Workshops help to grow the industry but what I am seeing nowadays is frightening.”

Moyo, who established her beauty spa (name withheld) in 2002, used to earn about $10 000 a month before the entry of the unscrupulous players.

“The situation has dramatically deteriorated since 2014. Now, it is difficult to get $2 000 a month. When business was at its peak, I used to employ at least 15 professional therapists but the figure has since dropped to less than six,” she said.

Moyo, who holds several international diplomas in beauty therapy from countries such as South Africa, France and the United Kingdom, told the Daily News on Sunday that her profession had literally gone to the dogs.

“It is now humiliating to be associated with this profession because there is now a thin line between massage parlours and brothels. Kana mumakombi umu ukati I’m a therapist zvinongonzi ‘oooh ndimi vaya vanoita nezve-sex,’” she said.

She added that the fact that standard body massage prices usually range between $20 and $50 per hour at professional parlours was also pushing business to unscrupulous players who charge as little as $5 per hour.


Comments (3)

What is your problem? Have you ever lived in the so called global cities and witness what is happening in this trade? Pea brain people who focus on none issues instead of dealing with real issues of substance. Why is it of any concern to you if someone pays to receive services which take place without affecting the public good or anyone else. Noone is forced to have those extra services if they don't want can still just go for a massage or you can choose to have extras as long as it hurts noone. Check what happens in London, Paris, New York to name just a few this is what happens. So in Zim worry about dirty tap water, no cash in banks etc not what services people are providing in their massage parlors.

Comrade Chazezesa - 15 January 2018

Ndezvenyu izvo.. These Parlors help us relax and distress.. Its safe,clean.. What more would want.. Keep up the good work girls..!!

Ted - 14 September 2018

You people can be petty. Big deal! two consenting adults have come to an agreement that benefits both of them. We have bigger problems in Zimbabwe! Grow up . "Unethical, unethical" kudiikwacho. Tipei ma serious.

Kaya - 25 November 2018

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