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February 8, 2006

Vancouver's "body rub parlours"

Vancouver's dance with prostitution.
Should prostitution be legal? Some say it already is.

Body-rub parlours are regulated under Vancouver's business license bylaw. The description of a body-rub, sandwiched between 'Billiard-room keeper' and 'Bowling alley', is clear: It "includes the manipulating, touching or stimulating by any means, of a person's body or part thereof," according to the bylaw.

By comparison, a license for massage parlours explicitly forbids female employees from attending to male customers. There are no such restrictions in place for body-rub parlours.

More obvious, perhaps, is the fact that the bylaw regarding 'health enhancement centres' specifically outlaws employees from engaging in "an act of prostitution." No such stipulation is in place for body-rub parlours.

The costs of business licenses are telling as well. Massage parlour licenses are $202 a year; a license for a body-rub parlour costs $7,730 yearly - the third most expensive business license the city charges for, behind horse racing and the PNE.

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