Volume 94, Issue 40

Thursday, November 9, 2000


Mayoral candidates duke it out at Western

USC discusses stance on student code

Tories in hot water over MPP raise

Campus Briefs

Locust Mount gutted in fire

Hot Air

Operation "Back Rub" nets 36 arrests for LPD

Planet Me

Operation "Back Rub" nets 36 arrests for LPD

By Aaron Wherry and Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

London Police have made over 30 arrests this week in their efforts to rub out illegal massage parlours.

At 6:30 on Tuesday night, 60 members of the London Police executed search warrants at five London body massage parlours, a residential address on Second Street and a St. Thomas massage parlour.

Const. Ryan Holland, media-relations officer for the London Police, confirmed 10 males and 26 females were arrested and could face up to 43 criminal charges.

The arrests came after months of a detailed police investigation, entitled "Project Back Rub," which examined the activities of area massage parlours in an effort to curb illegal sex trade within the city, Holland explained.

"The information gathered was presented to court after months of investigation and search warrants were then granted," he added.

Holland said "Project Back Rub" was a follow-up to a 1999 police investigation entitled "Project House Call", which led to wide-spread arrests at massage parlours in March and May of 1999.

Ward 7 councillor, Susan Eagle, said she was pleased with the success of the investigation and offered praise to the London Police for admirably upholding the law.

"I don't think we have more of a problem [with the sex trade industry] in London," she explained. "I think that's mainly because of our bylaws and the presence of additional police force."

Erika Empey, internal co-ordinator for Western's Women's Issues Network, said there are two ways to look at the sex trade issue.

She said if a women is illegally prostituting herself, then she should be held accountable for her actions, but stressed the importance of examining the nature of a sex-trade workers employment environment

"There is often a questionable relationship between employer and employee," she said. "Are they pushed into doing things they don't want to do?"

Empey said some women in the sex trade industry are victims of poor social and economic circumstances and, in some cases, are coerced into their situation through the threat of bodily harm or loss of employment.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000