SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — San Francisco's Department of Public Health maintains that about half of the city's estimated 300 massage parlors are fronts for prostitution and the city is cracking down with tougher regulations that go into effect starting July 1st.
The parlors face new administrative hurdles and have 90 days to apply for a health department permit. If officials find parlors are in violation of health code or engage in illegal activity, will be shut down and must wait three years before they can open at the same location.
Some of the people who work and live around the parlors look up at signs that advertise private bathtubs, hot tubs and saunas. Residents agree and say they don't believe it's always therapeutic massage that these parlors offer.
One man said if you take a peek inside, the massage area is downstairs with neon lights and that you can get a lot more than just a back massage.
According to a report in The San Francisco Examiner, new and some existing parlors must also apply and be approved for a conditional use permit from the City's planning Department. The report says, the Dept. of Public Health can now also deny a permit to a would-be parlor owner charged with a crime, with no conviction necessary.
Members of the city's Board of Supervisors claim that some employees at these establishments are in some cases, "modern day sex slaves."
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