Nfld. & Labrador

Massage parlour ad targets women at university

A job ad for hostesses making the rounds at Memorial University has some women concerned that the ad is recruiting young women for work related to the sex trade.

Massage ad

10 years ago
Duration 2:23
A massage parlour is recruiting among MUN students, reports Jen White

A job ad making the rounds at Memorial University has some women concerned about young women being recruited for work in the sex trade.

The ad for Sherry's Sugar Shack reads, "Hostesses wanted. We are a business opening up in the downtown area."

The ad states workers will cater to business people, "providing company and a relaxing massage."

'A business, NOT a brothel'

To find out what the company is telling potential workers, CBC News sent an email inquiry from a false account. The email received a reply from a company representative who called himself "Bill."

He wrote, in part, "The business is an adult massage parlour. It is NOT a brothel."

The response continued: "You would be massaging wealthy older men & they, if they wished would massage you. This is called a 'nude reverse.' Some men prefer lingerie, others like to look at nude women. There is no sex involved. These businesses are legal in Canada."

Bill wrote that it would not be uncommon for "hostesses" to make up to $500 in one shift.

Women concerned

Some female students at Memorial University said they are concerned about the ads.

"It seems kind of sketchy to me," said second-year student Krysten Burden.

"Just the fact that they're targeting young women specifically kind of makes me uncomfortable, to be honest."

"It's definitely not something I'd go for," said first-year student Samantha O'Toole. "And it's not something that they should advertise, definitely not on campus."

Angela Crockwell, the executive director of Thrive Community Youth Network, said she isn't surprised the company chose MUN for its recruitment ads.

"I think, in this city, there's been a growing concern that sex trade activities are on the rise," said Crockwell. "With the increase in demand people are going to have to seek out ways to recruit, and a young female student population is probably a pretty ideal target for some."

Location traced to Gower Street

The email reply sent by "Bill" said the location for the business was a Victorian guest house in the downtown area of St. John's. A telephone number in the email was connected to a house on Gower Street.

A phone number connected to Sherry's Sugar Shack is located at this house on Gower Street. (CBC )

When CBC called the number, "Bill" said his company was in the very early stages, and he was not prepared to do an interview. 

While the ad for Sherry's Sugar Shack states the business is fully licensed, registered, and operating legally, officials with the City of St. John's said they have not received an application for that type of business in that area of the city.