San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is developing a plan to sanction landlords who let massage parlors operate as brothels in their buildings, says the San Francisco Chronicle. The proposal is modeled after a similar effort in New York state that stemmed the illegal trafficking of women from other countries to work as sex slaves. “It’s time to let these traffickers know San Francisco is not the city to be operating in,” Newsom said.
City leaders are considering ways to curb the illegal sex trade in San Francisco, part of the growing $8 billion international trafficking industry. City Hall also is preparing a public-awareness campaign for bus shelters and billboards. Newsom says that what he has tried so far — revoking massage parlor permits based on a documented pattern of health and safety code violations — has proved costly, burdensome and only somewhat effective. The Chronicle reported that scores of San Francisco massage parlors offer sex; many have permits from the city’s Department of Public Health. A Web site, www.myredbook.com, reviews massage parlors that offer sex and lists 90 such establishments in San Francisco. Thirty-seven on the site’s list have city-issued permits. Also on the list are 10 massage parlors singled out in a 2005 federal raid that led to the arrest of 45 people for running a sex-trafficking ring between South Korea, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.