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Anti-Prostitution Advocates Want Stronger Massage Parlor Industry Regulations

Max Pringle / CPRN

Max Pringle / CPRN

Kirsten Kolpitcke with the League of California Cities says prostitution at massage parlors has skyrocketed since a non-profit organization started running a voluntary certification program in 2009. She says that’s no surprise given who is on its board.

“The majority of which are either people who own a massage establishment or who represent an association of a massage organization,” says Kolpitcke.

Cities and counties oversaw massage parlors through zoning and other local codes before the California Massage Therapy Council took over the voluntary certification program in 2009. The voluntary program is scheduled to sunset in 2015. Critics say local control should then return and the state should take over certification.

Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez says the program allowing the massage parlor industry to police itself has failed and should be allowed to sunset as scheduled next year.

“There is an overwhelming need to figure out how to control the over-proliferation of illicit massage parlors through the entire state of California,” Gomez says.

The Massage Therapy Council, the organization that certifies massage therapists, says it would like to see the current program retained, but with better coordination with local agencies.



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