Morgan Hill City Council Tightens Restrictions on Massage Parlors Amid Concerns of Illegal Activities

Morgan Hill City Council Tightens Restrictions on Massage Parlors Amid Concerns of Illegal Activities

In response to mounting concerns over potential illegal activities, the Morgan Hill City Council has taken decisive action to tighten restrictions on massage parlors. The move comes amidst fears that some of these establishments may be involved in human trafficking and prostitution. Matthew Mahood, the Economic Development Director for Morgan Hill, emphasized the council’s aim to legitimize reputable businesses while keeping illicit ones at bay.

The concerns were initially raised when the Morgan Hill Police Department received reports of assaults by massage therapists. Additionally, the city witnessed a significant increase in the number of massage parlors, rising from 12 in 2009 to 21 in 2024. Further suspicions were raised by the presence of ratings on websites catering to erotic massage for several Morgan Hill massage parlors.

To address these issues, the police department conducted multiple undercover sting operations. However, instead of apprehending the masterminds behind human trafficking, these operations often uncovered victims of such crimes. Shutting down these establishments proved challenging as they would resurface under new “straw owners” or victims would be relocated to other illicit massage parlors elsewhere.

In response, the Morgan Hill Police Department shifted its focus towards providing resources to human trafficking victims and exploring preventive measures. Police Chief Shane Palsgrove stressed the need to target the organized crime networks behind these operations rather than prosecuting the women being trafficked.

Taking inspiration from Sunnyvale, the city council introduced a new ordinance aimed at preventing the establishment of illicit massage parlors. The stricter permitting process includes requirements such as certification by the California Massage Therapy Council for all massage therapists. The new permit also prohibits obscured front windows and locks on massage room doors, discouraging human trafficking and prostitution. If a permit is revoked, the owner is barred from opening another massage establishment in the city for five years, and the storefront cannot be used as a massage parlor.

City Attorney Donald Larkin acknowledged concerns from some council members that the extensive permitting process might unfairly burden law-abiding establishments. However, city officials assured that legitimate operations are likely already in compliance with the proposed regulations.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

2 Responses

  1. The Morgan Hill City Council’s decision to tighten restrictions on massage parlors is like putting a lock on a door to prevent unauthorized access. Just as the lock provides an extra layer of security to keep out potential intruders, these new regulations aim to prevent illegal activities from taking place in massage parlors.

  2. Do you believe that tightening restrictions on massage parlors is an effective solution to address potential illegal activities, or are there alternative approaches that should be considered?

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