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Massage parlour brothels busted: One shut down every week

Illegal brothels masquerading as massage parlours are booming across the state, with more than one shut down per week by authorities.

This year, 46 suspected illegal brothels have been shut down by Victoria Police’s Sex Industry Co-ordination Unit alone.

Regional police units and councils have also shut down a slew of massage parlours offering illegal sexual services.

Senior Sergeant Trinette Charleson said new massage parlours are popping up more quickly than police can shut them down.

“There is a proliferation of them within Victoria,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“Because of the unregulated massage industry and lack of planning permits from councils, we can close them down and then they pop up again around the corner.”

Harry, the owner of two legitimate massage parlours, said dodgy operators give the industry a bad name.

All of his employees are asked to sign a contract promising they won’t provide sexual services, as the parlours are not licenced to provide them.

“I make it very clear to all of the girls that this isn’t a sex shop, that we’re here to massage,” he told Neil Mitchell.

But he said massage parlour owners, not those offering the sexual favours, are the ones who pay for the illicit acts.

“When the council send an investigator into a massage shop and they find that something has happened they go straight to the courts, they shut the shop down, and the girls wander off to the next shop,” he said.

If you have information about an illegal massage parlour contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at

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Image: SrdjanPav