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San Rafael Cracking Down On Massage Parlors Accused Of Prostitution

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SAN RAFAEL (KPIX 5) — Sex parlors masquerading as massage businesses are apparently a big problem in San Rafael. In fact, the city is spending $250,000 to crack down.

In the hub of bucolic Marin County, city officials said there’s a problem. It’s one you may not think is so big here but officials say one industry here is thriving: prostitution. At some of the 60 massage parlors registered in town.

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“About three quarters of those are not legitimate massage parlors, in the sense of services being provided,” San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips told KPIX 5.

Phillips said it seems like a lot but maintains it’s not uncommon in a city the size of his, population 60,000. What may be unusual is his city’s response.

“We approved the additional expenditure allocation of $250,000 earmarked to address our massage parlor issue,” Phillips said.

It’s not hard to find signs advertising their legitimate services. So we wanted to ask some questions. We didn’t have any luck.

“Kind of behind the scenes, sneaking up on us kind of problem,” said Andre Sineros of Gamescape. “And if we don’t do something to address it, it’s going to get worse.”

Sisneros is head of the city’s Business Improvement District and has been hearing conversations around town he doesn’t like.

“You know, guys talking about their experiences, talking about what they like, and in a setting that is totally inappropriate. Not what I want for our downtown community,” Sisneros said.

Some say, a quarter million dollars is a lot of money to go after massage parlors. But the first crackdown, which cost $100,000, netted the city $75,000 in fines. So they think it’s a pretty good deal.

More than 80 citations were issued in the previous crackdown.

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