Massage parlors that are fronts for prostitution have opened in Louisville suburbs as local government failed to regulate them or prosecute their workers aggressively, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. Raking in what police believe has been millions of dollars by selling sex, most parlors knew when workers were arrested, the odds of a prostitution conviction were slim. Twelve of every 13 massage parlor workers charged with prostitution a few years ago either had their cases dismissed or were allowed to plead guilty to amended charges.
Things have changed recently. The Louisville metro government is battling this form of prostitution on several fronts. Police this year have arrested massage parlor workers at more than twice the rate of past years. Prosecutors have obtained prostitution convictions in 61 percent of the massage parlor cases resolved since mid-2002. Officials have used a nuisance ordinance against landlords of at least a dozen massage parlors, lodging fines and liens against some – and prompting at least four landlords this year to terminate leases or move to evict parlor tenants. Whether the city will succeed is not certain. At least one parlor that closed under city pressure this year has reopened. Some of the parlors are fighting back.