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Massage Parlours

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 9 March 2010

13. If he will issue guidance to local authorities on the granting of licences for massage parlours. (321009)

My Department has no plans to issue guidance to local authorities on the granting of licences to massage parlours, because in most areas they are treated as ordinary businesses and do not require special licences. However, things are changing and some authorities, particularly in London, now require such businesses to have a licence.

I suggest to the Minister that all local authorities should require special treatment licences but, although it is all well and good to have licences, what will she do to ensure that officials make regular visits to these massage parlours to identify and help victims of human trafficking who are often found there and need to be rescued?

I thank the hon. Gentleman, who has a long and honourable history of concern about this subject. The problem is that most of this issue falls under the Home Office, and another small section of it under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, so however much I might like to encourage officials in DCLG to pay regular visits to check such establishments, I do not think that I could.