Despite stern warnings by civic authorities, the massage cards and flyers menace in most of the areas in Dubai still continues. Unscrupulous agents of so-called massage centres are seen randomly distributing and littering a barrage of massage cards in almost all the commercial and tourist areas of the city.
While walking through main commercial areas in Bur Dubai and Deira, it is common to find such objectionable massage cards strewn all over pathways, defacing the beauty of the city. Most of the cards bear vulgar pictures under the pretext of massage. It is sometimes very embarrassing for tourists and families to pass through the walkways while stepping over such littered cards.
When the authorities do not leave any stone unturned to beautify the city and make the residents and tourists happy, such irresponsible acts of massage centres are deplorable.
Despite the fact that the authorities do crack down on such illegal solicitations, the menace has remained unabated.
A security guard of a reputed bank on Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road in Dubai said that many a times the authorities do apprehend such people, while they are distributing the cards, but heaps of new cards spring up clandestinely every day, mostly under the cover of darkness.
Nizar Rahim, a long time resident of Dubai, said that he has also been noticing this menace for a long time.
He said: “It is found almost all over the city. These unscrupulous elements boldly display their contact numbers soliciting customers under the pretext of massage.”
Similar were the views of a homemaker living in the Muhaisnah 4 area of the city.
She didn’t want to be named, but said: “It it is surprising to find such obscene cards strewn near the schools in the area as well. This can be a serious issue for students when they notice and pick such cards. Although it may not be possible for the authorities to monitor such elements everywhere, it also becomes a duty of residents to report such menace to the concerned authorities.”
Not only the walkways, such elements do not even spare public areas like telephone booths and walls, with flyers being stuck in a whimsical fashion and languages. Residents should take up this issue collectively by not responding to such elements and stamping out the menace.
— The reader is based in Dubai.
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In a report published in Gulf News in October 2014, the Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED) explained that advertising on business cards is illegal, and as per an agreement between the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Interior, companies are not permitted to have employees distribute business cards on streets.
In another Gulf News report, published in August 2017, it was highlighted that stricter penalties including a fine of Dh10,000 and immediate deportation were proposed to counter the menace of massage card distribution in Dubai. The Waste Management Department made the proposal to the Legal Department of Dubai Municipality to get the approval for amending the rules for implementing stricter penalties for the offence.
As per the proposal, people caught distributing the massage service cards by dropping them on doorsteps and tucking them on windscreens of parked vehicles should be immediately deported. The Dh10,000 fine is proposed to be imposed on licensed massage parlours indulging in this illegal activity. Currently, the fine is just Dh500.