A GOVERNMENT crackdown on illegal tattoo parlours needs to be intensified, according to an MP who claimed Bahrainis were stripping naked to get ink on their “sensitive areas and private parts”.
MP Jamal Dawood claims not enough is being done to catch tattoo artists who operate in private apartments and advertise their service on social media.
However, Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Minister Ghanim Al Buainain said authorities can’t act against such individuals until they receive an official complaint.
“The Health Ministry deals with outlets licensed to operate as salons and massage parlours – and those caught offering the outlawed (tattoo) service have been referred to the Public Prosecution,” he told parliament yesterday.
“Apartments are private and require undercover sting operations.
“Police and health inspectors can’t just enter them based on assumptions – there has to be substantial evidence and those involved have to be caught red handed.
“The service is not provided by licensed businesses or authorised personnel, it is being done by individuals active on social media so they are beyond our reach.
“But that doesn’t mean we will not work according to parliament’s orders to carry out investigations into the matter and clamp down on those involved.”
However, Mr Dawood argued more needed to be done to stop illegal tattoo artists, since they were breaking the law.
“Tattooing is on the rise among Bahrainis, who can easily find individuals doing it on Instagram and later meet them in an apartment,” he said during parliament’s weekly session yesterday.
“The private rooms are operated by Bahrainis and expatriates, who claim to be artists, and customers are asked to be fully naked so tattoos can be inked on sensitive areas and private parts – with work carried out in indecent and unhealthy manner.
“What goes on in those apartments is hectic, chaotic and immoral – and requires an immediate move by authorities concerned before it gets further out of control.
“The practice is banned, so why are those individuals being allowed to operate freely without any action being taken against them?”
The Health Ministry vowed in January last year to take action against those illegally providing the service to customers at salons and massage parlours after parliament voted to outlaw the practice.
In a written response from the Cabinet commenting on last year’s proposal, which was debated yesterday alongside 19 others from parliament, the government said inspections had been intensified and a number of tattoo parlours had been uncovered.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry previously told parliament that it was already rejecting applications from existing salons to offer the service.
It also said there was no Commercial Registration (CR) available to open a tattoo parlour in Bahrain.