AN investigation has been launched into claims that female prostitutes were approaching male shoppers in malls and offering them sex for money.
It follows allegations that men were being offered “temporary marriages” by Arab women in return for cash.
Such arrangements allow couples to have sex outside traditional marriages, but Southern Municipal Council chairman Ahmed Al Ansari said it was being abused by women seeking to profit from the flesh trade.
The issue was raised yesterday during an open weekly majlis at the Southern Municipality headquarters, in West Riffa.
Parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and national security committee has now tasked the Interior Ministry with investigating the matter.
Mr Al Ansari said he had been contacted by a number of constituents who had reported such approaches.
“We will contact all of the shopping malls and centres in the Southern Governorate to validate the matter, because if it is true then it is disastrous to the country’s image,” he said.
“Parliament and the Southern Governorate Security Directorate have already been informed about the matter and civilian police will be present at car parks or near elevators and escalators, where those Arab women offering temporary marriages have been spotted.
“Whether they are begging or offering themselves for sex, they are two serious crimes outlawed by Bahrain’s rules and legislations.”
He said the women had been spotted arriving at malls on the same bus, suggesting they were part of an organised racket.
“One woman would be handed a baby, another would have a burn mark besides other weird ways of provoking sympathy from the public by the ring leader, who drops them off in a bus,” he said.
“Whether those women are Bahrainis of a particular Arab origin, or non-Bahrainis, we are on a roll to stop them and all of those behind them.”
Parliament’s foreign affairs, defence and national security committee vice-chairman, MP Khalifa Al Ghanim, said the matter required serious attention in co-ordination with the Interior Ministry.
“We don’t know for a fact if this is true, since those present at the majlis didn’t show any evidence, but there is no smoke without fire and the matter is being investigated seriously,” he said.
“The same nuisance has also surfaced in Saudi Arabia over the past few weeks, but I never thought it would reach us here. We are working with the Interior Ministry to tackle the matter and it may not just be confined to the Southern Governorate, but all across Bahrain.”
He said it was vital to act fast to preserve the integrity of the country.
“It would be disastrous if this thing involves a lot of people, knowing how bad to the country’s reputation it would be,” he added.