A joint effort between Halton police, By-law officers and the Canadian Border Services Agency lead to six massage parlours being busted for allegedly offering illegal sexual acts. Some of the women working in the parlours may be victims of human trafficking.
When CHCH cameras walked in to one of the parlours allegedly offering sexual services, the women working there immediately denied it. But Halton police have a different view. Brad Murray is with Halton police: “We believe they’re acting as exotic massage parlours and offering illicit sexual acts.”
Some of the businesses advertise services such as acupuncture, physiotherapy and massage like this Tai Chi Health Centre on Speers Road in Oakville beside the love shop. It looks legitimate. So does Ivy Spa on North Service Road in Oakville. It’s beside a restaurant these women regularly frequent: “I’m quite shocked for a place like Oakville.”
“What everybody does behind closed doors is fine. Why not? But to be open to the public where children are would bother me.”
Orrett Smith is the Jamaican Caribbean Restaurant Owner: “Quite frankly it was mostly men. Most of them seemed to enter from the back door.”
The question of legalizing the sex trade is now before the courts. Police say that makes it difficult for them to help victims of human trafficking in bawdy houses.
Brad Murray continues: “From a police perspective, our hands are tied in relation to laying those charges right now while its before appeal so we’re looking for different ways to proactively investigate them.”
Which is why police got by-law officers involved to inspect places that they feel are clearly breaking laws. Tony Thompson is an Oakville By-Law Enforcement Manager: “Some places you’re in there and you interrupt a body rub going on and you don’t need to see much else. You’ve seen all you really need to see.”
The licence was revoked at Accu Green Health on Brant Street in Burlington.
Body and Sole in Milton, and Mary Gold in Campbellville were both shut down because they had no valid licence. Cara Studio in Burlington was served a violation notice. The Supreme Court of Canada will rule on the legality of the country’s anti-prostitution laws next Friday. It will decide if existing laws violate the rights of sex workers.
To review, the following businesses were found in violation of the by-laws and some are facing charges and/or had their business licence revoked.
- Accu Green Health, 774 Brant St, Burlington
- Cara Studio, 4180 Morris Dr, Burlington
- Body & Sole, 550 Ontario St, Milton
- Mary Gold, 43 Main St S, Campbellville
- Tai Chi, 2544 Speers Road, Oakville
- Ivy Spa, 191 North Service Rd E, Oakville