The Delhi government on Monday issued new guidelines for operation of spa and massage centres in the city with strict measures to ensure prevention of sexual abuse and trafficking and to ensure the security of patrons as well as employees.
The new guidelines strictly prohibit any kind of cross-gender massage in the premises in view to protection of children from sexual offences, preventing sexual harassment, and trafficking among others.
“The guidelines have been made while keeping in mind the safety and security of the consumers as well as the employees on the premises.
“The centres have to ensure utmost safety inside their premises like provisions of self-closing doors and prohibition on latches and bolts inside the doors of the massage centre chambers while keeping external doors open during working hours. The centres will also need to have separate toilets and bathrooms for males and females as well as separate changing rooms,” an Delhi government statement said.
Further, the spa and massage centres will be allowed to employ only people aged above 18 having a certificate in physiotherapy, acupressure or occupational therapy. They will also need to obtain police clearance for all employees and undertake police verification of the premises.
“A task force was constituted by the Delhi government to investigate. Suggestions from the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) were incorporated further into the guidelines,” it said.
Under the new guidelines, engaging in any form of sexual activity in the premises of the spa or massage centre is totally prohibited, cross-gender massage shall not be allowed and provision for male masseur for massage of males and female masseur for massage of females shall be made, and male and female spa centres shall be in different sections of the premises and clearly demarcated with separate entry and no inter-connection.
The spa or massage centres can remain open only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., mandatory provision for production of ID cards of all customers shall be ensured, and a register containing their contact details including phone numbers and ID proof shall be maintained.
Also, the premises shall not be used for residential purposes nor it shall communicate with any residential portion of the premises, if any.
The details of all employees including housekeeping staff shall be maintained in a register, and all employees shall wear an ID card issued by the employer and displayed while they are working.
The spa/massage centre shall not violate any laws in force especially the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and shall abide by all the applicable laws, rules and guidelines.
The name, licence number, details of licence, working hours of each centre shall be displayed in the premises or building in a manner clearly visible from outside, CCTV cameras with recording facilities should be installed at entrance, reception and common areas of the centre, and recordings must be retained for at least three months.
An internal complaint committee under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place Act shall be established in the centre where more than 10 employees are working. The existence of such a committee should be displayed at a prominent location, and its reports should be sent to the authorities concerned.