Former massage parlour prostitute speaks out
A woman who says she used to work as a prostitute in a high-end Richmond massage parlour has shared her troubling story with CTV News.
She asked that her name be withheld, so will be referred to as "Ashley." For a year, she worked in various massage parlours in Metro Vancouver.
Ashley says about once per week her madam sent her to the Water Club, located at the top of the posh Radisson Hotel in Richmond.
"You get an initial $200 just to get in and just basically party and stuff," she said. "If you did want to have sex with any of the guys there, you charge your own rate."
The club was closed down for two months in March due to a number of bylaw infractions, which are outlined in a January 2011 report to Richmond City Council.
Among the reported violations were refusing entry to RCMP officers and "permitting a person engaged in a body rub or other services not to wear garments covering his or her body between the neck, top of knees and below the elbows."
Earlier this month, CTV News sent an undercover volunteer to the Water Club. He spoke to a manager, Paul, who said sexual services were for sale – including "hand release."
"Hand release meaning masturbation?" he was asked.
"Yeah, yeah," Paul replied.
CTV News tried to reach the Radisson Hotel for comment on Friday, but have not heard back. The hotel receives roughly $20,000 per month in rent from the Water Club.
The club manager did speak over the phone on Friday, and denied sex was for sale at the business.
"I told you guys, we don't have full service. We don't have those things," Paul said.
But Ashley disagrees. She says the club is "definitely full service," that parties at the Water Club sometimes went to 8 a.m. and that there was plenty of drug use -- including tranquilizers, cocaine and ecstasy.
She quit the sex trade last year, and would like to see massage parlours that offer sexual services shut down.
"It was definitely terrifying," she said. "You don't know what they're going to do if you say no."
The City of Richmond has launched an investigation into massage parlour sex and has asked the RCMP to do the same.
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