Members of Edmonton's adult massage business are defending their industry in the wake of growing public outcry to keep massage parlours out of neighborhoods.
Dozens of people living in the Westmount area met Tuesday to voice their concerns. They're worried about a massage parlour that recently opened at 124th Street and 107th Avenue.
One woman who works in the adult massage business say she sympathizes with the Westmount residents.
"I wouldn't want one of these places next door to my kids' daycare or to my kids' school," she said. "I would fight that for sure."
'We would be outside on the streets'
But the single mother of three, who asked her name not be used, said she worries about shutting down the industry altogether.
"With all of us girls, if they were to close these places down, we would all be outside on the streets where not just our own children, but everybody else, kids could see us," she said.
Police have called for tougher bylaws to help deal with what they say is an influx of Asian gangs getting into the adult massage business.
Det. Chuck Prince of the Edmonton Police Service's vice unit said if the city doesn't get a handle on the industry soon, it will become a major problem.
There are more than 40 adult massage parlours operating at any one time in Edmonton, Prince said, employing between 400 and 600 women.
Massage parlours serve an important purpose: worker
The adult massage worker who spoke with CBC said she believes licenced massage parlours in commercial areas, like the one in which she works, serve an important purpose.
"There is a lot of weirdos that come in here, and you know what? We take care of them inside here. If it wasn't for us, God only knows what they'd be doing out there."
The man who owns the parlour said he runs a clean, discreet business that's a better fit for most communities than a bar.
"I mean this is an endless story," said the man who also asked his name not be used. "Nobody wants it in their backyard. That's a problem politicians have to deal with."