New reg­u­la­tions for mas­sage busi­nesses take aim at traf­fick­ing

Antelope Valley Press - - NEWS -

LOS AN­GE­LES (CNS) — Mas­sage busi­nesses in un­in­cor­po­rated ar­eas of Los An­ge­les County will soon be re­quired to pay for a pub­lic health per­mit and com­ply with new reg­u­la­tions de­signed to com­bat hu­man traf­fick­ing, un­der action taken to­day by the Board of Su­per­vi­sors.

Su­per­vi­sor Jan­ice Hahn cham­pi­oned the changes, say­ing many of the busi­nesses had “be­come a safe haven for hu­man traf­fick­ing” for sex and la­bor.

“Reg­u­lar, ran­dom in­spec­tions from the Pub­lic Health De­part­ment and new per­mit­ting re­quire­ments will be tools to help us root out hu­man traf­fick­ing and con­nect vic­tims and survivors with the help they need,” she said.

Mas­sage busi­nesses will now be re­quired to ob­tain both a busi­ness li­cense and pub­lic health per­mit and be sub­ject to sur­prise in­spec­tions.

The first-year li­cense fee is set at $1,895 and the pub­lic health per­mit costs $409 an­nu­ally.

Mas­sage tech­ni­cians will also be re­quired to main­tain a busi­ness li­cense or a cer­tifi­cate from the Cal­i­for­nia Mas­sage Ther­apy Coun­cil, depend­ing on whether they work be­hind closed doors.

If tech­ni­cians are not in com­pli­ance, busi­nesses rather than in­di­vid­u­als will be pe­nal­ized.

Other new re­quire­ments in­clude post­ing all ser­vices at the front of the es­tab­lish­ment and only al­low­ing pay­ment for ser­vices to change hands there.

A no­tice re­gard­ing slav­ery and hu­man traf­fick­ing must also be posted on site.

Mi­nors can­not be em­ployed.

Cur­rently, 38 mas­sage busi­nesses are li­censed in un­in­cor­po­rated Los An­ge­les County.

The new reg­u­la­tions also high­light how long it can take to im­ple­ment change. The Board asked the county coun­sel to draft an or­di­nance more than two years ago.

Another ad­min­is­tra­tive vote — ex­pected next week — is re­quired to adopt the or­di­nance. It will then take ef­fect within 30 days.

Ex­ist­ing busi­nesses will have four more months af­ter that to come into com­pli­ance. Vi­o­la­tions can in­cur fines of $1,000 or a mis­de­meanor charge pun­ish­able up to six months in jail, or both.

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