State agencies partnered with Escondido police to crack down on massage businesses that engage in prostitution.
On Wednesday, officers inspected 22 massage parlors in Escondido to make sure no illegal activity was taking place.
According to the police department, 15 of the businesses were violating Escondido municipal code sections, and 10 were violating fire and life safety-related ordinances. In total, the businesses face more than $10,000 in fines.
Officials note that while most of the massage businesses are reputable, many are little more than fronts for prostitution and human trafficking.
More massage parlor inspections will be planned for the future, according to Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter.
“Our city welcomes reputable businesses,” said Carter in a statement. “However, if a business engages in unlawful activity we will use all legal means to either gain compliance or shut the business down. The police department prefers voluntary compliance over prosecution, but we will pursue criminal charges against employees and business owners who choose to operate their business in violation of existing laws.”
Last year, police detectives discovered prostitution activities at an Escondido business called Oriental Therapy on E. Valley Parkway. The business was closed down in December due to prosecution by Escondido City Attorney.