Rub Them Out!

Joe emails: I drive by a bordello on my way home every night and did not realize it.

I stop at the light almost every night on pico and overland, and there is this big neon sign for a massage. I did not realize that West Los Angeles was such a well known massage area, and sure enough by googling the address of 10667 pico, the same kind of shenanigans are going on in the westside, not near any shuls.

I would posit that the only legitimate massage parlors in los angeles are chain places like the massage place or some of the places in koreatown where there are large Asian women actually practicing massage.

You should make it a mission to crack these places, I bet the real guilty party is not the customers, but the landlords who like the high rent that these places can support.

Prostitution is bad for the economy because of the tax revenue that is lost. Hookers do not report wages earned. Contrast that with other leisurely pursuits such as boating, gambling, drinking – the government gets its share of the revenue earned by the service provider.

So, either legalize it and tax it (which will not happen due to an unholy alliance of the religious right and feminists) or have the government make money off of it by enforcement of the criminal aspect. Busting massage parlors brazen enough to have a Pico boulevard address should be good for hundreds of thousands of fines and penalties, and the increased costs will be borne by the customers.

Eventually, the cost of this trade will become too expensive and men will return to more government enriching forms of leisure. I guess it offends me as a taxpayer. If I did not have to report my income, I would be much wealthier. Why should a professional (lol) massager be different.


First it was pot shops. Now it’s erotic massage parlors.

In the last two years, they’ve proliferated in the city — just as dispensaries did, and for a familiar reason.

In both cases, Los Angeles failed to quickly assess and act upon the ramifications of a new state law.

Police say they’ve seen numerous illicit massage parlors open in Hollywood, Koreatown and the San Fernando Valley. But the biggest explosion has been in Eagle Rock, which is a community that was also inundated with medical marijuana dispensaries.

An online directory of erotic massage establishments lists nearly 30 in Eagle Rock and Glassell Park, including 15 on a two-mile stretch of Eagle Rock Boulevard. One of them, Surprise Massage, advertises “Fairytale Oriental Massage” with “Sexy Pretty Asian Girls NOW.”

“You can drive down the street and see one on every block,” said Michael Larsen, the president of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council. “Our community is being inundated with prostitution.”

The problem is connected to a 2009 state law that created voluntary state certification for massage therapists. The intent was to make it easier for legitimate massage therapists to work anywhere in the state.

The law said therapists with state certification could no longer be subjected to stringent local vetting. In Los Angeles, for instance, where city code classifies all parlors as “adult entertainment,” licensed therapists would no longer have to apply for police permits, which require fingerprinting and background checks.

Many cities — including Culver City, West Hollywood and Glendale — promptly began requiring those applying to open massage parlors to show their state certification.

But Los Angeles failed to do so, instead asking applicants only to state if they were certified, not to show proof, according to Officer William Jones, who is in charge of the Los Angeles Police Commission’s permit processing section.

As a result, it became an easy place for erotic massage parlors to set up shop.

Ahmos Netanel, who heads the California Massage Therapy Council, a nonprofit set up by the state in the massage certification bill, said L.A. should rewrite its code.

“My understanding is that the city has basically stopped regulating,” Netanel said. “We have shared with them that this is unusual.”


Some may be tempted to dismiss the proliferation of massage parlors as not a big deal, on the grounds that they’re merely places for consenting adults to engage in personal business, sexual or otherwise, behind closed doors. That’s naive. Whether prostitution should be legal is not the issue. Currently, it’s not, and Los Angeles’ failure to pay attention has now made its streets the destination for massage customers from cities that no longer tolerate such establishments.

In other cities, officials are cracking down on the exploitation of women, many of them underage, whose illegal immigrant status makes them virtual slaves in the sex industry. But just as City Hall’s regulatory and enforcement ineptitude drew “medical” marijuana dispensaries that brushed aside state law and engaged in straightforward sales to customers with or without medical need, massage parlors have arguably made northeast Los Angeles the region’s prostitution capital. Angelenos certainly want their city leaders to bring in more jobs, but this is not what they had in mind.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in Prostitution and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.