This news story appeared in the Chronicle about a massage parlor task force shutting massage parlors alleged to be trafficking in sex slaves. In the article one part read: Inside the club, six women were cited for wearing inappropriate attire -- lingerie and clear plastic heels -- How did that become illegal attire?
What's needed is a a repeal of all laws regarding consensual sex between consenting adults - 18 years of age or over. Yeah yeah I know how does it become illegal if one or the other or both are under 18 and what's so magical about 18 - but the general public and politicians are the deciding factors here - not reality.
And actually the same repeal should apply to personal and medical marijuana use and possession and drug paraphernalia use and possession.
17 massage parlors closed by task force
Undercover drive by the city against human trafficking
Meredith May, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, May 18, 2007
A special San Francisco task force designed to combat human trafficking has closed 17 massage parlors suspected of forcing immigrant Asian women into sex work.
In the past 18 months, a team of undercover police officers, along with city fire, building and environmental health inspectors, has been conducting surprise inspections of suspected erotic massage parlors.
The 17 Asian massage parlors were closed after incurring at least three health and safety violations within a year. Four others were fined, suspended and allowed to reopen after a temporary closure. Two others closed voluntarily.
But a handful of parlors shut by the city have since reopened illegally, and one has applied for a new permit as an acupuncture clinic with massage.
"Enforcement has not been as effective as we had hoped, but we are making a dent," said Johnson Ojo, San Francisco's principal environmental health inspector.
"It's much harder to open a massage parlor in San Francisco now because we are taking a hard look at an owner's past history, and denying permits if they have been involved in prostitution before."
Enforcement has been difficult, but Mayor Gavin Newsom said the task force is making headway into a problem that until now has gone largely undetected.
"There is momentum and a commitment to resolve this," Newsom said. "We are moving away from looking at this issue as harmless prostitution to a criminal act against human dignity and human rights."
San Francisco is a major hub for the $8 billion global sex trafficking industry, and is home to more than 100 erotic massage parlors listed online and in Asian-language newspapers.
Traffickers abroad charge women tens of thousands of dollars to smuggle them into the city, and then force them to work off their debts in erotic massage parlors, sometimes servicing more than a dozen men a day. Sometimes the women are lied to about the type of work they will be doing in the United States.
Often the women are forced to live in the same parlors where they work, and are watched on surveillance cameras and kept inside by metal security doors.
Newsom convened the massage parlor task force after federal agents investigating a South Korean sex trafficking ring raided 10 San Francisco massage parlors in summer 2005.
After a sex trafficking investigation by The Chronicle, Newsom increased surprise inspections last fall from once to twice a month, and the Board of Supervisors passed a law requiring public hearings of all proposed massage parlors. The city and nonprofit agencies placed human trafficking posters with hot line numbers in bus shelters.
Ojo has issued cease and desist orders to the parlors that have illegally reopened after their permits were revoked, and he is working with the city attorney to get court warrants allowing him to send sheriff's deputies to shut the places.
On Wednesday, the inspection team returned for a second visit to CEO Health Club, on the sixth floor of an office building on Sansome Street.
Inside the club, six women were cited for wearing inappropriate attire -- lingerie and clear plastic heels -- and one of them was cited for working without a massage practitioner's license. The business was also cited for employing an unlicensed masseuse.
One woman, in tears, said she left a dying father in China and that she didn't like working in the massage parlor. She said she wants to teach piano to children.
The new citations at CEO Health Club, and similar violations recorded in August, are enough to revoke the club's permit, Ojo said.
"We have to build up a case against each one, and while it takes a long time and uses a lot of city resources, it is starting to show results," he said.
Newsom said he plans to begin enforcing a rarely used 1913 "red light" abatement law that allows authorities to fine and jail California landlords who let massage parlors operate as brothels in their buildings. He will also deliver a speech on human trafficking at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Los Angeles in June.
Ojo said city inspectors also investigate tips from the public. The Department of Public Health number is (415) 252-3800.
E-mail Meredith May at mmay@...