Police have arrested four Thai women and one Maldivian man on suspicion of sexual misconduct during a raid of a beauty salon in Male’ on Saturday.
Police raided the ‘Sabai Salon’ on the fourth floor of Ufuriyaage in the Galolhu ward of Male’, the ninth salon to be shut down for prostitution charges since February 2012.
Police Sub-inspector Hassan Haneef said the women arrested were mostly foreigners and faced deportation, whereas the Maldivian nationals are “given advice” in most cases.
“It is difficult to charge them with fornication as the law requires eyewitnesses,” said Haneef.
Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed in May claimed the ministry possessed a list of suspected brothels on inhabited islands, “most of which have already been shut down.”
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs last month said it was formulating rules and guidelines for registering and operating alternative medicine centres, spas and beauty salons to prevent the use of such establishments as a front for prostitution.
The new regulations, to be drafted by a technical committee comprising of representatives from police and relevant ministries, would expand the role of the Islamic Ministry in monitoring the businesses, according to the Islamic Ministry.
Shutting down brothels masquerading as spas and massage parlors was a key demand of a ‘mega protest’ on December 23, organised by eight political parties and religious NGOs to ‘Defend Islam’ against the allegedly liberal policies of the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government.
Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla had claimed during the December 23 demonstration that over 60 brothels were in operation in Male’ alone, double the number of mosques in the capital.
Earlier this week, three Maldivian men and a Sri Lankan man were arrested along with three Thai women for suspected prostitution inside “Shaaha Alternative Medical Centre” in Male’.
In May, two people were arrested at “New Age” beauty salon for sexual misconduct.
In April police arrested two Thai women and two local men on prostitution charges after raiding a Male’-based business called ‘Maldivian Care’.
In March police arrested five Thai nationals and three male Maldivians inside ‘Herbal Beauty Salon’, located on the second floor of Maafannu Sherrif.