Happy-ending massage parlours: When filth comes to Karachi DHA

Published: August 29, 2013
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Counter fee at such parlours is usually between Rs2000 to Rs3500 and the girls ask for tips ranging from Rs1000 to Rs4000 depending on the “services” you desire.

Massage is taken as a therapy to relieve stress and rejuvenate the mind and body after a day’s hectic routine. In our society a “maalishi” is considered a magician who can instantly relieve you of your knots and spasms. However, since the last five to six years we have witnessed a mushroom growth of salons offering different kinds of massages ranging from neck and shoulder to full body Thai massages.

Besides the high end spas, a relatively recent entrant in this market, are “massage parlours” operating in certain commercial areas of DHA and Clifton. Out of curiosity, I did some investigative journalism, went deep into this world, met the concerned people and collected a plethora of facts and figures. Some background interviews with people involved in such a business and clients frequenting these facilities revealed the following facts:

How do they advertise?

Shady massage parlours advertise through some unconventional channels. They post subliminal ads on certain classified web portals offering therapies and beauty services for men and women in a “relaxing” and “Bangkok” like environment. That’s where the catch is.

For people who are familiar with such facilities, the mere use of term “relaxation” rings a bell and the attention has been captured. Such parlours have also started sending bulk text messages with similar subliminal terminologies intended for people who have a taste for these “services”.

What exactly happens there?

Ads for massage parlours come with a cell number. You call on that number and the person at the other end tells you to reach a certain landmark and call him/her from there. That’s the first sign of the place being a suspicious joint. They don’t operate publicly. Once you reach the venue, you realise you are standing in front of a salon in a rundown building and the shopkeepers in the neighbouring blocks are staring at you with suspicion.

You ring the bell or knock on the door and are greeted warmly by a skimpily dressed girl. The very first question you are asked is the “reference” you came with. If you satisfy them, you are then led to a sitting area where you witness a parade of women wearing cleavage exposing clothes and you are asked to pick the one you like. Your pick of the day then leads you to a make shift room, made of hardwood walls after paying a counter fee and you are asked to “change your clothes” which actually means “take them off”.

The word ‘massage’ at such parlours is just a cover up and instead what happens is prostitution behind closed doors. These girls offer you “relaxation” services that start off with a basic full body massage and end “happily” with another set of services which are sexual in nature.

How much do they charge?

Counter fee at such parlours is usually between Rs2000 to Rs3500 and the girls ask for tips ranging from Rs1000 to Rs4000 depending on the “services” you desire. 

Where are these parlours located?

They can be found in some streets of Zamzama commercial area, Bukhari Commercial area, Khadda Market, Badar Commercial area, areas close to Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s mazaar, Tauheed Commercial area, a few are on main Nishat Commercial and some residential blocks of DHA and Clifton.

Who runs these facilities?

Some big mafias are involved in this business. My investigation took me to people I’d never want to mess with. On the condition of anonymity, one person running such a parlour revealed the name of a famous “land grabber” who happens to be holding an important portfolio in the current Sindh Government and is related to a famous widower. Most of the parlours in the DHA area are being patronised and protected by him.

How do they stay out of the radar?

Darakshan, Gizri and Boat Basin police stations are fully aware of all the massage parlours operating within their jurisdiction. Some conversations revealed that each parlour is supposed to pay bribes ranging from Rs50,000 to Rs200,000 to the Station House Officer (SHO) of the concerned police stations; failing to do so results in a raid and an arrest of the clients busy in their “moments of relaxation”. However, once the owner of the facility pays off the required bribe, the parlour becomes operational the very next day.

Who are their clients?

Business tycoons, young boys from influential families, men from interior Sindh and up country staying in Karachi for work, police officers and government officials.

What can DHA and the Sindh Government do about it?

The DHA vigilance department will have to play their role in curbing this practice before it spreads more filth in the neighbourhood. They carry out raids on sheesha bars, confiscate push carts, penalise illegal constructions but have failed to step hard on such immoral activities taking place right under their nose. The Sindh Government will have to constitute a special committee of honest and competent officers who can act without any influence and crack down on all such shady businesses without any prejudice.

Do you know of any suspicious 'massage parlours' existing in or near your neighbourhood?

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Anonymous 5

Armaghan Ferozi

An alias has been used instead of the name of the blogger in order to maintain anonymity.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • MK
  • Sai

    Thanks SaiRecommend

  • ahmed

    thanks for the detailed info. will have a try :)Recommend

  • Fazal

    I wonder

    “who happens to be holding an important portfolio in the current Sindh Government and is related to a famous widower”

    must be its client too with home services.Recommend

  • Maddy

    What a Pity ! Recommend

  • TTV

    If these men couldn’t get their “relief” from such parlours, they’d probably resort to sexually harassing women in public. So, I’m not completely against their existence. It’s a sad reality, but we have to come to terms with it.Recommend

  • Spigot !

    you forgot to leave the cell number mate :oRecommend

  • Ramzan Ali

    This is the same thing which is happening in Dubai….. over here in Dubai these massage parlors hire a few Bangalis they distribute visiting cards to the people & put these cards on the parked cars doors in the market & 1 in a 20 people call them & ask them for the massage charges which is Dhs 100 for a body massage & for other happy ending service they charge according to happy ending service required by a customer…..Recommend

  • PakiBoy

    Thanks for informing us. Will save us a trip to Bangkok.Recommend

  • Mj

    Oh look, a moral crusarder snooping into private businesses. No one is forcing anyone to patronize these ‘establishments’. So what’s the issue here and what are your arguments against such businesses?Recommend

  • MRK

    I think it’s absolutely disgusting to single out “christian girls” as being the ones most commonly practicing this.
    It’s not the religion but the walk of life that these girls come from. Poverty and lack of better opportunities in our country is what is forcing many to turn to this profession.Recommend

  • Spigot

    @Mj:
    what’s his argument and issues against such establishments?

    REALLY?
    SERIOUSLY??

    You have to some sort of ‘MEGA GENIUS’ to ask this question :DRecommend

  • Akmal

    The DHA vigilance department cannot do anything as they are also involve with mafia, they only do such raids or illegal constructions where they have their own advantage, everyone, i mean everyone is corrupted and involve so nobody can do anything against this activity , plus i would like to add that people who are not aware of such places media playing a very good role to via playing fake / scripted raids on their channels.Recommend

  • Sane

    Police, MNAs, MPAs and those powerful government officers are the main cause of every filth and crime in this country. ‘Lawmakers’ are the biggest lawbreakers. Is anyone listening? Who has the courage to nab them?Recommend

  • Stranger

    I say why fault the ‘girls’ . If there is a demand there is bound to be a supply for that .Anyways lets legalize prostitution . That will rid the society of loads of evils. Then there wont be any need for any ‘shady’ activities. Recommend

  • Rebel

    What worse is that there are thousands of gay massage parlours throughout Pakistan. Even the BBC took the time to report it recently: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/23811826Recommend

  • Sane

    @PakiBoy:

    Thanks for informing us. Will save us a trip to Bangkok.

    Don’t tell anyone at home specially your sisters.Recommend

  • Zalmai

    Take cues from the Iranians and legalize prostitution by taxing it and giving it a government sanction. Sigha is a fixed time marriage, which allows temporary marriages with mutual benefits for all parties concerned. Recommend

  • Realist

    Why is the blogger surprised? The societies that are the most sexually repressed or highly segregated are the ones that become the most devious in a sexual sense. The more you mystify the other sex, the more perverted the outcome will manifest itself in society. Prostitution and homosexual encounters are the result. If you want to see a change, then you need the work on the mindset. Starting by normalizing the relationship between men and women, the way how the sexes should view each other.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ishfaq

    First enjoying all the happy ending activities and then anonymously writing blogs about them….This investigative journalism will completely ruin you dear. What people do behind closed doors should remain behind closed doors. Don’t advertise it.

    In his famous letter to one of the appointed governors, Hazrat Ali (r.a.) said. “Take action when people commit sins openly and in public. What they do secretly is none of your business”.Recommend

  • Dilip

    The OLDEST profession in the world put to question. Will it ever stop? No!!! Legislate it and live with it and all corruption will end.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Stranger:

    I say why fault the ‘girls’ . If there is a demand there is bound to be a supply for that .Anyways lets legalize prostitution . That will rid the society of loads of evils. Then there wont be any need for any ‘shady’ activities.

    So, you must also nod on legalizing all other crimes…..rape, murder, plundering; all must be allowed by issuing license (legalize). You are a good solution provider. This approach shall make this country a ‘heaven’. No crime country.Recommend

  • Liberal

    ‘Famous widower’? ——> Zardari, you mean?Recommend

  • Repatriated

    I don’t understand why all the moral outrage is reserved for DHA/Clifton elite. I hope the author realizes that sex sells across all socio-economic classes, whether it is roadside sex workers, brothels serving the working migrant class or elite call girls.Recommend

  • seeker

    @Dilip: the argument given by Sane to Stranger is also meant for you to read and learn.

    never expected such a lousy argument from anyone on this forumRecommend

  • Salman

    @Liberal:
    Who else? And what’s the name of theland grabbi8ng relatvie. Some Muzafar piece.Recommend

  • s

    famous “land grabber” who happens to be holding an important portfolio in the current Sindh Government and is related to a famous widower….
    Tappi?Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    Shame on the defence and clifton folk….They have completely forgotten Islam. Sad. A wave of the ocean will be enough to silence their sinful desires…Recommend

  • bubbs

    Liberal … You are pure genius dudeRecommend

  • Forever alone

    How come I never come to know about any of such places :(Recommend

  • Bang

    Haha — Did you go to BH?Recommend

  • Stranger

    @Sane – prostitution is something different from stealing or other crimes. Here girls work hard for their living . they don’t lie or cheat. Rarely does any girl come into this profession on her own. By legalizing prostitution , those in this profession will get health checks , regular pays , perhaps pension after ‘ retiring’ , education and recognition of their children and so on .Recommend

  • Insaan

    Chinese and Pakistanis are best friends.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Stranger:

    @Sane – prostitution is something different from stealing or other crimes. Here girls work hard for their living . they don’t lie or cheat. Rarely does any girl come into this profession on her own. By legalizing prostitution , those in this profession will get health checks , regular pays , perhaps pension after ‘ retiring’ , education and recognition of their children and so on .
    Prostitution is stealing right of other woman. Other crimes are more life threatening than prostitution and has lot many risks. No one becomes criminal willingly, but situation and circumstances create criminals. Why you support prostitution as ‘profession’ instead of crime. Then legitimize all crimes for one reason or the other.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Under the heading : Who are their clients ?……….you have given a list of people that almost speaks for itself.
    Think of it as a demand and supply situation. Remove the demand and the situation will go away, if you forcefully try and remove the ‘ supply side ‘ the whole thing will only metamorphoise into something worse.
    For all the ‘ holier than thou ‘ crowd………if this disturbs you so much, close your eyes and ears. Just as other are forced to do when watching your antics. Freedom is a concept that has to be a two way street, otherwise it does not work.
    Note : I do not support vulgarity or promiscuous behaviour but hypocrisy I abhore. Recommend

  • Sane

    @s:

    famous “land grabber” who happens to be holding an important portfolio in the current Sindh Government and is related to a famous widower….
    Tappi?

    Intelligent you are?!! Shshshs……….Recommend

  • khurram

    Good way of advertising these massage centers.Recommend

  • Zohair

    You gave too much details here i think….the point of this blog is to advertise or denounce these things?Recommend

  • sage

    The best solution of such problems in the current era with easy assess to anything at any age is “healthy brought up of our youngsters”. We cannot stop them from countless social evils. The only way is to teach the preaching in effective sense to safe their two worlds. And true such activities have remain part of our society from ancient times.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Things like this happen in all societies. The sad part here is that there are people in Pakistan and here on tribune who believe that there’s nothing wrong with this or any related activites. We’re living like animals. Recommend

  • Ali

    Even though this isn’t the ideal form of business, it is something that has existed since the inception of time. And to be honest, such places should be allowed to function. No, i’m not supporting this, but lets face it, the clientele here are the same retards who would most likely resort to sexual abuse, rape etc. when they are desperate for relaxation. Let’s face it, these animals will never be caught or brought to justice. Providing them an avenue to vent their frustration is not exactly a bad thing.Recommend

  • Raza

    As a former resident of DHA Karachi, I’m astounded if its true, but mainly coz I never noticed anything like it. I suppose the main issue at hand here is the hypocrisy and corruption going on; as far as the ‘relaxation’ goes, if there’s a demand, there’s a supply. The categories of clients identified in the article are doing far worse to society and the country than illicit sex. Not condoning the immorality of it; just saying that there is way too much wrong with Pakistan and its residents for this to seriously disturb me. Recommend

  • Dilip

    @Seeker
    @Sane
    The number of RECOMMENDS your comments results in speaks volumes!!!!!Recommend

  • Gingo

    Any business venture in any DHA society is governed high up eventually by Paki Armed ForcesRecommend

  • Dilip

    2000 years down the line and all the intelligent humans still have not found a solution to this age old problem!!!! Are we going to solve this problem? If Yes then what is the solution?
    @Sane and @SeekerRecommend

  • Muhammed Usama Aziz

    @all those saying that it is their own business
    A human desire does not has any limit. For example, no matter how much a man earns a money, still he will try to earn more.

    Same is the case with prostitution. No matter if even legalize it, there will still be cases of rape. Because a man desire has NO LIMIT
    So, legalizing it is not a solution. If it was a solution, then there would not be cases of rape in USA where sex is not considered a taboo!
    A wrong will remain a wrong!Recommend

  • Mudassar Ali Sheikh

    Express Tribune should have a vigilant eye when going through such sort of articles. In my believe it is totally a unnecessary and worthless piece of article. In the end i started to believe as if a friend of mine is telling me about the massage parlours just to make me visit there as well as trying to warn me about the consequences of any carelessness. Let me ask
    Mr. Author what were your ‘good’ intentions to write this article, apart from telling those about such places who does not actually know about them. And yes congratulations…. you were quite successful in order to pluck the string of curiosity among many of the individuals who really like to take ‘risks’ for the sake of ‘adventure’Recommend

  • vaticancity

    Who cares really, focus on more important things, people are repressed, if you legalise it nobody would care that much, anyway most people are hypocrites.Recommend

  • Reader

    @Parvez this is not a matter of simple economics. Most of the women in this profession in Pakistan are not in it of their own free will. Have you heard about modern day slavery and human trafficking? The majority of these women need help. This is not Amsterdam.Recommend

  • Stranger

    @Sane : These women or men in this profession need help. They need guidance like health checks , min pay etc., Many times they fall prey to the local police , goondas , clients etc., Their profession needs to be recognized . Murderers , thieves etc are totally apart . They are parasites in our society . Prostitutes are not parasites. They don’t force any one to come to them.Recommend

  • Dilip

    @Reader
    In Amsterdam Drugs and Prostitution is legal. There is less corruption and crime in the city. They provide for free rehabilitation if needed. They provide free injections to druggies thus controlling the HIV scourge. The Dutch are control freaks. They do it properly. In Karachi, it is free for all. The corrupt polititions and criminals RULE. Recommend

  • AW

    How do they Advertise?
    Well, through your blog, I can safely say that. Recommend

  • Sane

    @Stranger:

    I failed to find any logic in what you commented. Other criminals are parasites, but not the prostitutes. These prostitutes are the product of human trafficking and paves way for other heinous crimes in the society….leading to murder, robbery and above all breaking our social fabric.

    What face you will have on the day of judgement? If you believe in. Committing sin is something else …….. ALLAH may pardon you, but defending a sin as not a sin is rebel to the ALLAH’s commandments. May ALLAH bless you and show light.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Dilip:

    @Seeker
    @Sane
    The number of RECOMMENDS your comments results in speaks volumes!!!!!

    My intention is not to earn recommendations. Through my comments even if one person change his/her mindset…is a great success, whether recommends or not. I never comment on any blog post unless I feel my version is truly and earnestly correct. Whether anyone agrees or not.Recommend

  • reez

    Not a single comment from a female gender..lol..Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    Nobody can control this trade. It is like prohibition against alcohol but it only increased smuggling in usa, remember al Capone. Closer to home, prohibition in some Indian states is a farce too.it would be better to educate the girls in the trade to use contraceptives and about sexual diseases. Where there is a demand, the supply finds a way. Cry as much the moralist brigade can do. At least, the customers are paying and not raping and leeching girls on the road out of desperation for leisure activities. So, chillax and legalize it and the government makes money too. The more you try to stiffle it, the more rabid and fast it will grow illegally. CheerioRecommend

  • happiness

    you seem to have forgotten about the regular salons, the ones which have male staff. this is a totally one sided report. Recommend

  • Danish

    How better could you market it dear! You informed all those who didn’t even know about them at all. You came up with all Ps (Price, Product, Promotion, Place), you intimated risks, talked about its utility and what not? I’m sorry but you did a pathetic job so effectively. These parlors should thank you for that.
    @ExpressTribune SOPs? What should and should not be published, redefine it please.Recommend

  • sherrry

    @Stranger:
    so there is a demand , would you like to contribute in supply part??Recommend

  • kappa

    this kind of massage centers are are not healthy for men…and they will loose respect as well. keep yourself away and your dignity intact. I am sure no man wants to loose respect in the eyes of his father, mother, sister, wife and daughter.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/pltacademy?fref=ts Travel_Tart

    In Malaysia, the best massage people are the blind people.
    .
    In Pakistan, you guys should also teach the blind to make them able to earn for themselves!Recommend

  • Sohail kamran

    Hmm famous “land grabber”
    important portfolio in Sindh Government
    related to a famous widower!!!

    I know who this guy is … Is he the one that’s over 200 year old? Or is he the one the 200 year old had no idea about?

    I hate The Moral Brigade. We are a vile society by nature. The best way is to make yourself better and everything around you would change eventually. So everyone do a quick analysis of what you really are inside out and then worry for the world.Recommend

  • S-H

    I don’t get it. whether you are advertising these parlors or against them ? I mean you left the every possible information. Made it much more easy to reach there. Shabash !!Recommend

  • Mariyah

    Just leaglize prostitution and your problems will be solved!Recommend

  • someone

    So ET ran a full page blog advertisement for these parlors including their fee structure and modus operandi , good job ET :DRecommend

  • Nawaz Shabbir

    live and let live ..Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Muhammed Usama Aziz: Same is the case with prostitution. No matter if even legalize it, there will still be cases of rape. Because a man desire has NO LIMIT

    May be it will reduce sexual abuse of children, incest, rape in Pakistani homes. Also I heard many men have sex with men because they can’t find a willing woman in Pakistan. Legal prostitution will provide them opportunity to do it the right way.Recommend

  • Nobody

    @ahmed:
    Shame you have to pay for it mate. Wouldn’t brag about that. Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Insaan:
    I don’t understand how people still think rape is a sex crime; rape is based on power and violence not sex; if having easy sex available to people was a hindrance for rape then most western countries would have ZERO rapes and we all know that’s not true. Rape is a crime of violence and power stemming from a mentality that objectifies women as nothing more than target for satiating lust.
    That being said, I’m actually FOR legalizing prostitution; not because I’m crazy about the industry but because the women who enter that world don’t generally grow up having that as their dream career, but are often forced into it. At least legalizing it will allow some restrictions and regulations to protect these women (and men). It’s not ideal but it’s the lesser of two evils so to speak. If you want to punish someone, punish the skeezy pervs who exploit these women. Cheers. Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Nobody: “if having easy sex available to people was a hindrance for rape then most western countries would have ZERO rapes and we all know that’s not true”

    Majority of rapes in western countries are “date rapes”. A date rape has nothing to do with power and violence, in my opinion. Drinking and drugs may be contributing factors.

    If it was just for sake of power and violence, men would rape men too. Power & violence rapes happen in prisons where men are raped by men.

    Sex is easily available in West but not to every one. If it was that easily available, there will not be a big demand for prostitution in most Western countries.

    There are men who have drug, alcohol, and/or psychiatric problems. Homeless men, illegal aliens.

    Why do you think kids are sexually abused by adults(mostly men) all over the world?

    Is that for power or gratification?

    Recently I read a news how a Teacher abused/raped 19 girls in Saudi Arabia. This guy has 4 wives and few kids. I don’t think he was doing it for power. One thing I find strange is he was able to rape 19 girls because 18 girls did not complain to any one.

    Do you think Incest rape is for power and violence too?Recommend

  • Burjor Rustomji

    famous widower, or should it be most famous widower? If massage is normal in Thailand. Why is it that we cannot look at life more openly, positively, naturally, why are we stuck in our narrow minded ways, when will we every get out of this mental rut, that we have put ourselves into. That is the question. Recommend