The Problem With Some Massage Establishments: Prostitution

On Monday, the San Carlos City Council will consider banning Styrofoam food containers, plastic bags and new massage establishments; the moratorium on massage businesses considered the most urgent.

In a memo submitted by Police Chief Greg Rothaus, the Council is advised, “we have determined not all businesses offering massage in our community are legitimate and some are, in fact, engaged in prostitution.”  (Memo emphasizes that SC has many legit, professional masseuses who provide a valuable community service)

According to the memo, the San Carlos Police Department has conducted several undercover investigations over the last year in the 1600 block of El Camino that resulted in two arrests, the latest on May 19th.

Also in the memo:  “The females engaged in these acts were all Asian and many did not speak English.  Because of that, we suspect a human trafficking element may be involved.  We have also learned that the CAMTC certificate is not a hedge against prostitution since we have contacted and arrested women who were certified by the state.

CAMTC as in the California Massage Therapy Council.   In 2009, the state created the board to oversee the training and certification of massage practitioners, hoping to eliminate excessive regulation.  The move, according to police staff, also eliminated the ability of cities throughout California to further restrict massage therapists setting up shop in their towns.  The result?  “The most significant of these consequences has been a proliferation of massage establishments that employ sex workers who engage in prostitution.”

There’s more.  New applications for massage therapy businesses are up and police staff believe, “the majority of these requests is to engage in prostitution.”

Will a decision on banning new massage businesses be decided Monday night?  “I would be surprised if it wasn’t a unanimous decision,” said San Carlos Mayor Andy Klein, who added that the ban would only be temporary, long enough for the city to draft a new ordinance that would deal with the problem.

As for the proposed ban of Styrofoam food containers, plastic and single use bags, Klein said no decision is expected.  Instead, council members will continue to study (the complicated) issue, although we may learn which direction the council is leaning.

 

 

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