Parlours: Despite the trade department issuing a notification, some beauty parlours in Phuentsholing are still providing massage services.

After the police in town raided the massage parlours in December, two non-Bhutanese were caught red-handed in one of the massage parlours.

Following the raid and media reports, the regional trade office had notified the beauty parlours and instructed that they could only operate beautification activities, and not massage services.

However, Kuensel has learnt that a parlour on Pelkhil lam still entertained massage service, and there were two non-Bhutanese waiting for the service yesterday.

Another parlour was also found offering services on an hourly basis, by charging Nu 1,000 for an hour and Nu 500 for 30 minutes.

In the town’s core area, Gaten lam, sources said parlours are still providing massages, even though owners are more alert, following the recent inspections from trade.

Meanwhile, the regional trade office in Phuentsholing has also cancelled the license of one of the parlours that provided massage services, and simultaneously offered sexual favours.  This was the same parlour where the two non-Bhutanese were caught red-handed.  There are still eight parlours that provide massage services.

The case of the parlour, whose license was cancelled, was sent to court on December 26.  Hearings are ongoing, but the non-Bhutanese man is on bail.

Prostitution is rampant in Phuentsholing town, and sources say there are about five pimps operating the flesh trade.  One of them is a non-Bhutanese man married to a Bhutanese woman, Kuensel has found.

There are also a few restaurants and hotels, which have waiters that manage the racket.

By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing