News release: prostitution in Pleasanton?

A massage parlor being uncovered as a front for a prostitution business raises questions about the prevalence of human trafficking.

While human trafficking poses problems in many places around the world, people in California perhaps do not realize how much it affects the people in their state. What people really never expect is that some kind of prostitution is taking place right under their noses.

The story

In the town of Pleasanton, there had been rumors that the services clients were getting in certain massage parlors were not limited to typical styles of massage. Due to connections made between certain establishments and websites online where people can purchase "escorts," it became a matter of concern to the community as to whether these massage parlors were truly legitimate, or if they just served as fronts for human trafficking.

It wasn't until March of 2013 that the Healthy Footprint Massage in Pleasanton was called in for its illegitimate operations. The parlor's owner was charged with allowing "improper contact with a massage client." This was only able to be determined as a result of an undercover investigation. Another person was arrested from the same place and charged with prostitution.

How does human trafficking affect Californians?

The story of Pleasanton is just a snapshot of a problem that goes much deeper than a few massage parlors. The Center for Public Policy Studies states that California is the state with the highest number of reported cases of human trafficking. They have also pointed out some of the following statistics:

· Where there is little regulation and labor is cheap, it is most likely there will be some kind of forced labor.

· Online advertising and recruiting is one way that traffickers reach their victims.

· Of all human trafficking victims, 72 percent are American citizens.

· Because of its strong economy, large population, large amount of harbors and airports, and its having an international border, California is a major location for human traffickers.

· In order to meet their basic needs, it is estimated that prostitution is practiced by anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of minors living on the streets.

· It is mostly unaccompanied minors and runaways who are at risk for child sexual exploitation.

Not all sex trafficking occurs through pimp-controlled prostitution. Some of it happens through massage parlors like the one in Pleasanton, while other types happen through escort services and through residential brothels.

Anyone in California who has been accused of prostitution or another sexual crime deserves to have their defense heard and their story accurately represented in the courts. An attorney in the local area who is experienced with criminal law may be able to provide the representation needed to get results.