November 29, 2006
So Much for a Happy Ending: California's Anti-Massage Parlor Law Called "Insufficient"
From SFGate.com: A new law intended to crack down on massage parlors that double as brothels takes effect next month in San Francisco, but experts say much more will be needed to stop sex trafficking in San Francisco. Under the law, passed by the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 14, anyone who wants to open a massage parlor in the city first will have to endure a public hearing and then obtain a special permit from the Planning Commission. The tougher regulations were sponsored by Supervisor Fiona Ma after a series of stories in The Chronicle this year that detailed the proliferation in the city of Asian massage parlors that offer sex with women, some of whom are working off debts to traffickers as sex slaves. At least 90 massage parlors in San Francisco offer sex, according to erotic Web sites where customers review the parlors and the women inside. Thirty-seven of those establishments hold city permits to operate as massage parlors. Ten of the 37 permitted parlors were implicated in a 2005 federal raid that exposed a sex-trafficking scheme involving South Korea, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new law will mark the first time city officials have extended the requirement for a "conditional use" permit for such businesses to cover the entire city. Previously, massage parlor operators did not need to obtain the permits to open downtown, in Chinatown and in the Castro district. Still the law is being called "insufficient." Full Story from SFGate.com. . . [Michele Berry]
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