Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Police in Phuentsholing detained two women and a 14-year-old girl in a massage parlour last week in a suspected prostitution racket.

It was learnt that the massage parlour in question, which is owned by a woman in her 30s, was providing sexual services along with massage in Deki Line.

The 14-year-old girl and a 21-year-old woman worked as massage therapists although they aren’t trained and certified massage therapists.

Sources confirmed that the massage therapists charged Nu 1,500 for a one-hour service, Nu 1,000 of which was given to the parlour owner. They kept the remaining Nu 500 from each customer.

Sources said the parlour had a supply of condom packets for customer use.

Meanwhile, a driver is also under police custody. He is in detention due to his connection with the 14-year-old girl.

The girl, who is from Tsirang, had come to meet the driver. They connected with each other through Facebook.

Sources said the driver and the minor have engaged in a sexual relationship. Since the girl is a minor, the driver will be charged for rape of a minor.

It was learnt that the owner of the massage parlour had called the 14-year-old girl to work in her parlour. The woman will be charged for promotion or patronising, whichever is higher, to the court.

The girl will be handed over to the relevant organisation for counselling and further care.

According to a trade official, there are about 45 registered beauty parlours, spas, and massage and wellness centres.

“As per the thromde’s advice, we have also stopped issuing licenses for these businesses,” the official said.

Due to the pandemic and repeated lockdowns in Phuentsholing, it is also unclear how many are currently operating.