Gardai struggle to contain growth in sexual services
Published 16/05/2010 | 05:00
Inadequate garda resources are being blamed for the dramatic rise in the number of Asian massage parlours offering sexual extras including "happy endings" and "blow jobs" in Dublin and other towns around Ireland.
A Sunday Independent investigation has revealed that massage parlours are routinely offering so-called "happy endings" and other sex acts to customers for as little as €40. An organised network of more than 30 Chinese massage parlours, most of which are offering sexual services, is being currently investigated by gardai. Massage centres offering extras have sprung up right across the city, a number in Dublin 7, some operating on busy high streets beside well-known pubs and shops.
Services including "hand relief" and oral sex are frequently available at the massage parlours when asked for. Gardai are now investigating whether organised Triad-style gangs are behind the upsurge in Chinese massage parlours, which are offering sexual services quite openly.
The services are mainly being advertised online on websites like gumtree.ie and Indublin.com as well as classified ads in newspapers. On such sites, hundreds of listings offering massages are found with mobile phone numbers to call.
Last week, the Sunday Independent visited eight such parlours in various parts of Dublin and all but one offered extras ranging from "hand relief" to "blow jobs".
One Dublin 7 parlour, which masquerades as a centre for acupuncture and reflexology, was the most blatant.
The Sunday Independent called the number. The receptionist was unwilling to talk about sexual services over the phone, and said: "Don't talk over phone; we talk when you come in." On arrival, our reporter was met by a Chinese woman in her 30s with a bumbag around her waist.
She ushered him through to a massage room and, without prompting, informed him of what sexual services were available. The room was decorated with Chinese pictures and there was a stereo playing traditional music in the corner. He was then offered a choice of two girls including the option of a four hand massage and then told to strip down and lie on the massage table. A young Chinese woman in her early 20s in stilettos and short skirt again offered sexual extras.
Several times during the back massage a happy ending was offered but he declined repeatedly and left.
At a separate parlour again masquerading as a centre for acupuncture and reflexology in Dublin 4, our reporter was again offered a "happy ending" within seconds of arriving. After declining that offer asking instead for a basic massage, he was again asked would he like extra "hand relief".
Of the other six places visited by the Sunday Independent, five operated out of apartment blocks throughout Dublin city and, in those cases, happy endings and blow jobs were offered for between €30- €60 extra. Many more women listed on these websites were far more blatant offering a range of services over the phone, including naked body to body massages complete with happy ending, blow jobs and prostate massages.
Our investigation comes as a Cork court last week jailed a man for and brothel keeping in the city.
Tony Linnane (53), Scartbarry, Watergrasshill, Co Cork, received a two-year prison sentence after being found guilty of 19 counts of organising prostitution and brothel keeping. Linnane's partner, Caroline O'Leary (39), also of Scartbarry, Watergrasshill, Co Cork, was also convicted of seven counts of acting or assisting in the management of brothels in Cork. Despite that conviction, the explosion in number of massage parlours in addition to the hundreds of escort prostitutes operating in Dublin, they don't fear or anticipate being caught or being prosecuted by the gardai. A recent investigation found that one Chinese prostitute transferred more than €1m to China over the past two years.
The madam has been operating two brothels in Dublin, one in an apartment in a run-down building on Thomas Street and the other in the ground-floor apartment of a house in Pleasant Street, which is off Camden Street.
Geraldine Rowley of Ruhama (supporting women affected by prostitution and human trafficking) said: "There has been a huge increase in Asian massage parlours blatantly offering sexual services in recent years. This is very worrying given the backdrop of sex trafficking which has also increased significantly in Ireland.
"The legitimate massage and therapy sector needs to be regulated so that criminal elements both nationally and internationally can be totally debarred from using these services as a front for their lucrative prostitution business." In response, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) is successfully tackling the proliferation of such massage parlours, according to a garda spokesman. "Operation Quest itself was put in place in the Dublin Metropolitan Region in 2001 in response to the particular phenomenon of lap-dancing clubs where it was believed that women were being brought into the country against their will to work in the clubs, some of which were believed to be operating as brothels."
The garda spokesman added: "The role of NBCI is important. The operation has continued to successfully bring people before the court as recently as this week."
And the spokesman said that there are still a "number of investigations that are ongoing under Operation Quest in the Dublin region".