Lately, Sacramento County has been experiencing a higher rate of ‘massage parlors’ popping up around Arden Arcade and other nearby suburbs of the city. For example, at least 17 such parlors have been identified and closed within the space of 2 years, only 3 of them outside of the northern district. Officials say that this influx of prostitution into the area can be attributed to the fact that rent is cheap there and the retail spaces that are being rented mean that customers can find them more easily.
While it is well known that massage therapists are more akin to medical professionals, some purveyors of prostitution try to hide their illegal activities under this guise. Though regulatory agencies are quick to say that they make routine visits to every business claiming to offer massage therapy in order to both protect clients and to prevent illegal activity, there are simply far too many new illegal ‘parlors’ opening up to keep track of, much less keep up with. In the state of California, charges of prostitution is covered under CA Penal Code 647(b).
California is a state that is particularly aggressive when it comes to prosecuting these cases. Usually, the crime is treated as a misdemeanor and the penalties include a $1,000 fine and, perhaps, up to 6 months in county jail. However, the concern with massage parlors is not simply that of attempting to keep persons from engaging in sexual acts in exchange for money; the worry is that they are the perfect cover for human trafficking rings, which are particularly prevalent in the Sacramento area.