Quick summary points on happy ending massage services in Singapore:
- If you are a customer visiting a business offering such services – it is not against the law to visit such an establishment.
- If you are the employee offering such services – it is against the law to provide such services.
- If you are the business owner – it is against the law if you or your employees are providing such services.
The Massage Establishments Act
The Massage Establishments Act in Singapore came into force on 1 March 2018 and was enacted in response to a significant increase in unlicensed massage establishments. Between the period of 2013 to 2016 there was a 40% rise in unlicensed massage establishments with 7% occurring within HDB properties. This is of course those that were identified, so in reality there may be substantially more out there.
Some of these unlicensed massage establishments of course offer services such as “happy ending massages” and as such this article will tackle the question of the legalities of offering such services.
Visiting an unlicensed massage establishment that engages in vice activities such as happy ending massages is not a crime in itself for the customers. That being said, it is considered an offense for the workers who are providing such services as it goes beyond the scope of their work permits.
There is consequences for business owners
Owners of such establishments providing happy ending massage services could face legal action under the Massage Establishment Bill Failure to comply with any conditions of the license is considered an offense and could result in a fine up to $5,000.
In addition, the Womens Charter (section 147) outlines that any person involved in managing a place that offers services like happy ending massages could be fined up to $3,000 or face possible jail time for up to 3 years. For subsequent convictions, the fine may increase to $10,000 with imprisonment extending up to 5 years.
The business could be defined as a brothel
If the establishment involves two or more women, it may be classified as a brothel under the Women’s Charter. A “brothel” is defined as a place occupied or used by two or more women for prostitution. Owners of such establishments may be charged with a fine not exceeding $3,000.00, imprisonment for up to 3 years, or both (as per Section 148 of the Women’s Charter).
What are the responsibilities of the landlord?
Landlords must take responsibility if their tenant is running a happy ending massage or other activities that constitute breaking the law. If the tenant is convicted of offenses under Sections 147 or 148 of the Penal Code, which includes operating such an establishment, the landlord can compel the tenant to terminate the tenancy and surrender the premises. If the tenant fails to comply, the landlord may apply to the Magistrate’s Court for a summary order to reclaim the property.
Furthermore, if the landlord is actively involved in the operation of the establishment, which is considered a brothel, they may face charges under Sections 147 or 148 of the Penal Code accordingly.