Massage parlours are safe and professional, one owner says

Saskatoon business owner Trish Fisher says massage parlours aren't the nasty places many people portray them to be.

Prostitution is a 'profession, like any other': brothel owner

Trish Fisher, operator of The Lion's Den in Saskatoon, points out some of the amenities of the Red Room in her business, a massage parlour or brothel which she prefers to call an adult services studio. (CBC)

Saskatoon business owner Trish Fisher says massage parlours aren't the nasty places many people portray them to be.

Fisher, who prefers the term adult services studio, spoke in defence of the business following a CBC News iTeam report on the experiences of a Regina massage parlour worker and prostitute who says she was physically assaulted, on many occasions, during her two years in the sex trade.

Fisher acknowledged that bad things can happen but she said — in her experience massage parlours, or brothels, are "the safest way for the women in this industry to do their jobs."

They do it because there's good money in it.- The Lion's Den operator Trish Fisher

"Without the studios these women either have nowhere to work or they're going to be forced back to the street," Fisher said. "Right now they have a safe, secure, clean place to do their job."

From real estate to the sex trade

Fisher used to work in real estate. She has been running the The Lion's Den in Saskatoon since 2012.

She candidly admits that she runs a brothel where sex is for sale and told CBC's iTeam the women who work for her are true professionals. 

"I really have a tremendous amount of respect for the women who choose to do this for a business," she said.

Fisher takes issue with the assertion that woman who work in the sex trade are either drug addicts or have been forced into it by someone else. 

"They just choose to do this for a living and they do it because there's good money in it," Fisher said. "They don't have moral issues regarding it."

Fisher added that many of the workers are looking for ways to earn money to support other aspirations.

"For a lot of them it's a stepping stone," Fisher said. "It's a way for them to earn enough money to continue education, open their own business, do whatever they want with their lives."

Prostitution as a 'career option'

In Fisher's view, prostitution is "a profession like any other", she said, adding it is significantly better than some. 

As an example, she said one former employees told her that women who work in her business are treated better than those who work in bars.

"She got more respect from her clients in this industry than she gets working in the bar," Fisher said. "And I've heard that story told over and over and over again." 

Fisher also conceded there are down sides to being a prostitute.

She said some people in society look down on women who work in the sex trade.

"There's always a cost associated to the good money," she reasoned, adding that all professions have down sides. "You can be working as a sales rep for a very reputable company making $150,000 a year, but it might cost you your family due to work hours. It might cost you your health due to stress."

Fisher was also asked if she would allow her own daughter to work as a prostitute.

"If she made a well informed educated decision to do that? Yes," she responded.

With files from CBC's David Fraser


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