New massage parlor regulations seek to tackle prostitution

Police arrest five foreigners for prostitution on December 20, 2019. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Afrah)

Economic Ministry published regulations on the operation and advertisement of massage parlors in Maldives on Tuesday, amid widespread concern over the parlors being used as a cover for prostitution rings.

The regulation prohibits posting photos and videos of massage parlors on social media for advertisement.

The regulations states that massage parlors must adhere to community standards in advertising their business, and prohibits the use of images or videos of people in advertisements.

Massage parlors that operate without registering with the Economic Ministry are punishable with a fine of MVR 10,000 and immediate closure of business.

Economic Ministry also reserves the right to cancel the registration of massage parlors found in violation of the regulations.

Massage parlors that fail to meet employee standards and operational standards, parlors that fail to take corrective measures, and parlors that repeatedly violate standards will be fined MVR 6,000-MVR 8,000.

The regulations limits the service hours of massage parlors to 08:00 am to 11:00 pm. The operation of massage parlors in inhabited islands is prohibited between 11:00 am and 02:00 pm on Fridays.

According to the Economic Ministry, massage parlors already in operation will need to re-register within 90 days.