by Photo courtesy of the City of Chula Vista

The city of Chula Vista updated its rules on massage parlors and holistic health businesses to crack down on illicit activities such as human trafficking, prostitution, and money laundering. 

The Chula Vista City Council approved an update to the city’s municipal code that requires massage technicians to be certified by the nonprofit  California Massage Therapy Council, which discourages the abuse of massage as a front for unlawful activities. 

The CAMTC was established in the Massage Therapy Act, establishes professional standards, approves massage school programs, and provides a voluntary certification process for massage professionals.CAMTC certification, which is valid for two years, is the only credential for massage professionals recognized by state law and allows professionals to work anywhere in the state. 

The certificate is voluntary and is not required y state law to practice in the state, but many cities and counties require CAMTC certification. According to the website, a person must be at least 18 years old and complete 500 hours of study from an approved school and pass a background check, which includes fingerprinting for criminal convictions.

According to Chula Vista Police Captian Myriam Foxx, there are currently 23 massage businesses permitted by the Police Department. Through quarterly inspections and proactive investigation, authorities have enforced prostitution and drug laws and encountered evidence of human trafficking, such as employees running out of the building when officers identified themselves and individuals living at the massage business. 

Capt. Foxx said the city’s municipal code required only permits for businesses and technicians from the city, police, and San Diego County.

The newly updated massage regulations would require massage parlors owners or operators to be present during all hours of operation to supervise, prohibit residential use, update the city of personnel changes, and adds specific language against illicit activity and for violations and penalties. 

Violations of provisions, or failing to comply with the new regulations could lead t a $1,000 fine or imprisonment for up to six months. 

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