MONTREAL - The exploding array of sexual services in Quebec massage parlours is transforming the sex trade, and traditional masseuses say they are being squeezed out by escorts offering "extras."
QMI Agency has learned that more than half of listed erotic massage parlours offer the same services as escort agencies.
One employee, who gave his name as Dave, says competition between salons is fierce and has led owners to push staffers towards prostitution.
"I can confirm to you that (women) are offering full services in the salons, and it's often at the urging of the bosses," said Dave.
"It's not difficult to understand -- the competition is so strong between the salons that girls must do more to keep their customers."
He said the only difference between escort agencies and the debauched massage parlours is that intercourse and oral sex are extra at the parlours.
A former salon worker, who gave her name as Cyndi, said women like herself who refused to perform sex acts found themselves at a disadvantage.
"Those ... who don't offer complete (services) or who don't give a little more won't make money," she said.
"Massages are another form of prostitution. It's become hidden escorts ... it's discouraging."
A QMI journalist visited eight erotic massage parlours in the Montreal area, and just two said sex acts were barred.
Several of the salons had entrances in the rear of buildings or in parking garages.
Those with street-level signs billed themselves as "heath for men" or "health care" salons.
The average charge for nude massages and masturbation was $90 an hour, with full sex acts billed as "extras."
Three police officers told QMI that the parlours are registered and regulated and are unlikely to attract the same attention from detectives as bawdy houses run by organized crime.