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Supervisors Up Requirements for County Massage Parlors to Help Prevent Human Trafficking
By Sentinel News Service
Published February 7, 2020

LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn (file photo)

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to increase regulations for massage establishments operating within LA County. The new requirements are the result of an ongoing effort by Supervisor Janice Hahn to help prevent human trafficking at massage establishments.

“Until now, massage parlors have operated with almost zero scrutiny and have unfortunately become safe havens for human trafficking right here in LA County,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn who has led the effort behind this new ordinance. “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.”

The ordinance adopted requires massage establishments in unincorporated areas of LA County to have a permit with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and undergo unannounced annual inspections from the Department of Public Health. It will also require employees working at massage establishments to have one of two kinds of educational or experience certifications depending on the work environment they perform in. In addition, the ordinance includes requirements for massage tables and sanitation of linens, a requirement that a notice be posted regarding slavery and human trafficking, a requirement that all services provided be listed visibly at the front of the establishment, and other similar requirements aimed at preventing human trafficking, and connecting victims and survivors with help.

Learn more about the new requirements on the Public Health website.

“Public Health along with our County family will be working together to put an end to slavery and human trafficking,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Under this ordinance, massage establishments in unincorporated LA County will be licensed and required to pass an unannounced inspection to operate legally, ensuring compliance with health and safety codes and preventing human trafficking in an industry where, unfortunately, some establishments have engaged in illegal and unsafe practices, including human trafficking.”

The ordinance will go into effect on March 4, 2020 – new establishments will be required to comply in full at this time, while existing establishments will have until July 2, 2020 to comply with the new regulations.

Requirements for massage technicians will be phased in over a period of two years and are classified into the following tiers:

Tier 1: If the massage technician works in an open area with no doors or private rooms, he or she will be required to have massage technician license issued by the County Treasurer-Tax Collector. He or she will also be required to have 2 years’ experience, education, or an equivalent combination of education and experience prior to receiving certification.
Tier 2: If the massage technician works in a closed door setting with private rooms, he or she will be required to have a California Massage Technician Council Certification (CAMTC), which is granted through the California Massage Therapy Council. This certification is more rigorous in experience and educational requirements.

The ordinance follows a November 2017 motion by Supervisors Hahn and Solis calling on County Counsel, the Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Treasurer and Tax Collector (TTC) to add a public health permit with annual, unannounced inspections to existing county code to better regulate massage establishments in unincorporated LA County.

In addition to the massage establishment ordinance, the Board of Supervisors also passed a measure instructing the Director of Public Health, in collaboration with the Director of Consumer and Business Affairs, Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Acting Director of Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services, and community partners to report back in 60 days on a strategy to provide culturally and linguistically sensitive, targeted outreach, education, and linkage to services for workers in the massage industry.

 

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