Massage centers to be closed down
The centers a magnet for prostitution, unofficial sources allege
All massage centers in Sulaimaniya province will be closed down, except those situated at three-star hotels and higher.
In a recent press conference, Sulaimaniyah’s Director of Tourism, Mustafa Hama-Rahim, told Kurdish media outlets that in accordance with a decision that was recently issued, all the massage centers will be closed down. He added that the only exceptions will be those contained within threestar hotels and higher.
Following a string of attacks on massage centers and liqueur shops in the Badinan area two years ago, most of massage centers across the Kurdish cities closed down their centers for fear of more attacks by angry mobs. After these assaults, some suspicious people attacked the Islamic Union offices in Duhok province.
Subsequently, relevant parties at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) made some new regulations to rearrange the business.
Hama-Rahim stated that all the centers haver been informed over the past few months to close down their centers, adding that the directorate extended the permission for several of them by a few more months as they had spent a lot of money to start the business.
The director added that there are only three centers working out of the hotels in the province. He said that a committee has been formed to check the sanitary quality of the centers.
“They have the right to work until the end of the year 2014, and after that duration their official permission will be ended and won’t be renewed for the next coming year.”
Opening massage centers in Kurdistan Region goes back to three years ago. The massage treatments are similar to Chinese and Japanese forms of massage. Some unof- ficial sources and those who had visited the centers argued that the centers had become a place for sex with the masseurs. But officials and the owners of the various parlours rejected the rumors.