Geneva charges Chinese for illegal prostitution

Geneva charges Chinese for illegal prostitution
Photo: AFP
A 56-year-old Chinese woman who ran two massage parlours in Geneva remains in custody for alleged encouragement of prostitution, money laundering, violation of the law on foreigners and other charges.

The woman, who is reportedly living illegally in Switzerland, failed to inform authorities that the salons were used for prostitution, the cantonal prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

She is accused of attracting young women from China to come to Geneva illegally to work as prostitutes in her salons located in the city of Geneva and in the suburb of Lancy, the prosecutor’s office said.

The woman was arrested last Thursday and five alleged prostitutes were also arrested, the ATS news agency reported.

Prostitution is not illegal in the canton of Geneva but it is regulated.

In this case, the prosecutor’s office said the suspect employed women who worked as prostitutes without residence and work permits.

The office alleged that she charged elevated commissions for the services provided by the prostitutes and imposed “a certain daily quota of customers”.

The owner of the salons denies these allegations.

She told investigators that she simply made available to her compatriots places to live and to work “permitting them, if they wanted to, to provide simple traditional massages, without sexual connotation”, the prosecutor’s office said.

While the investigation into the case continues, the six women remain in provisional detention. 

Meanwhile, elsewhere In Geneva, an expat couple living in a semi-detached home in a residential neighbourhood of the municipality of Versoix have filed a complaint about a massage parlour that recently opened up in the adjoining home.

The parlour operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to a report published on Wednesday by the Tribune de Genève.

The couple have a 10-year-old daughter who is often woken up in the middle of the night by the noise of customers coming and going in their cars, her mother is quoted as saying by 20 Minutes online.

She said her husband has had to erect opaque netting between the properties to hide from view “prostitutes suntanning topless on the lawn of the massage parlour".

Versoix Mayor Patrick Malek-Asghar said he was astonished by the presence of such an establishment in a residential zone, 20 Minutes reported.

But the “municipality unfortunately does not have the power to authorize or ban this kind of activity”, the mayor said.

The woman responsible for the massage parlour is reported as saying that the business is operating legally and that the police have been properly informed.

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