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Maldives Bans Spas Over Prostitution Claim

12/30/2011 01:06 pm ET

The tourism dependent Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives has ordered all spas shuttered after an Islamic political party claimed they were fronts for prostitution.

The country's tourism association says that's certain to hurt the economy, which relies heavily on European visitors who often spend four and even five figures a night on rooms in the luxury hotels scattered around the archipelago.

The opposition Adhaalath party agitating for the ban has failed to substantiate its claim, leading one anonymous source to tell the AFP news agency that the anti-spa stance is designed to simply "embarrass the government."

Nevertheless, the government of the Islamic country has ordered closed hundreds of spas at hundreds of hotels.

Not everyone is adhering to the new ban. At least one hotel is operating as usual, reports the AFP.

""We have heard of this report, but our spa is open," a manager at the ultra-luxurious Huvafen Fushi Resort told the news service.

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