Delhi Bans Cross-Gender Massage to Prevent Sexual Abuse, Trafficking at Spa Centres
The guidelines were drafted after Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal flagged incidents where female employees were sexually exploited, along with other issues, in several spas in her report to Delhi State Chief Arvind Kejriwal. She also urged him to take appropriate legal action.
Delhi State Chief Arvind Kejriwal has issued new guidelines and has also set up a task force to regulate a safe environment for customers and employees at spas and massage centres, and prevent sexual abuse and trafficking,
The rules clearly state that engaging in any form of sexual activity on the premises of spa and massage salons is strictly prohibited.
The guidelines explicitly prohibit cross-gender massage and also ask spa & massage centres to have male masseurs for males and female masseurs for females. It also mandates that the male and female spa centres shall be in different sections of the premises. Such parlours will also need to have separate toilets and bathrooms for males and females as well as separate changing rooms.
When it comes to hiring, the guidelines direct spa centres to employ people above the age of 18 years, who possess a degree or a diploma or a certificate in physiotherapy, acupressure or occupational therapy. The employees will also need to obtain Police Clearance Certificates, while the owner should undertake a police verification of the premises.
The new rules will also require that spa & massage centres have mandatory CCTV surveillance at the entrance, reception and common areas and maintain every customer and employee record including phone numbers and ID proof.
In order to prevent incidents of sexual harassment of women at the workplace, an internal complaints committee has been advised to be created in the centre.
The guidelines also warn the centres of penal action that shall be taken against those violating the new rules.