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Gov. signs bill cracking down on prostitution in massage parlors

August 1, 2011 |  4:27 pm

Photo: The Grand Therapy Massage Parlor in Los Angeles was believed to be a prostition site. It was raided in 2005 and Young Joon Jung, the reputed head of the business, was arrested. Gov. Jerry Brown acted Monday to make it harder for massage parlors to operate as fronts for prostitution in California.

The governor signed the legislation after The Times reported a proliferation in the number of erotic massage parlors in Los Angeles.

Massage therapists are required to receive 500 hours of training from a massage school in order to get a state certificate to operate in California. But officials say diploma mills have sprung up that provide fraudulent transcripts indicating that therapists have received the required training when they have not.

Under the new law, police departments will report to the California Massage Therapy Council the identities of massage schools attended by therapists who have been prosecuted for prostitution.

"Gathering this information in a single location makes it easier for law enforcement to recognize and prosecute fraudulent massage schools," said Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), author of SB 285.

His bill also makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine up to $2,500, for schools to provide a certificate to a massage therapist knowing that the person has not received the training represented by the certificate.

The bill was sponsored by the Orange County district attorney’s office, which said "illegitimate massage parlors cannot operate and cannot  receive local police permits without false certifications and  diplomas."

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-- Patrick McGreevy

Photo: This massage parlor in Los Angeles was believed to be a prostitution site. It was raided in 2005 and the reputed head of the business was arrested.

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