Senator Lou Correa’s Office & Orange County District Attorney
Press Release, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2011
John Scribner, Capitol Director, Senator Lou Correa’s Office, 916-651-4034
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff, Orange County District Attorney, 714-347-8408, 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Orange County District Attorney, 714-347-8405, 714-323-4486
CALIFORNIA PASSES ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING LEGISLATION TARGETING SALE OF FRAUDULENT MASSAGE DIPLOMAS AS FRONT FOR FORCED PROSTITUTION
*SB 285 was developed by Senator Lou Correa and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas
SANTA ANA – Senator Lou Correa and Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced today the passage of anti-human trafficking legislation targeting the sale of massage therapy certificates, transcripts, or diplomas used as a front for forced prostitution. California Senate Bill (SB) 285 makes it a misdemeanor for any person to knowingly provide fraudulent certificates, transcripts, or diplomas to any person who has not completed proper training set forth in the transcripts as required by the California Massage Therapy Council (CMTC) or a local city. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law yesterday, Aug. 1, 2011, and it will take effect Jan. 1, 2012.
“Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world,” said Senator Correa. “The new law will reduce the ease with which human traffickers operate in the State of California.”
“This law gives law enforcement the tools to go after human trafficking at its inception. Human traffickers need these phony diplomas to place women in illegitimate massage parlors that are really brothels. I will be working closely with other law enforcement agencies and the California Massage Therapy Council to identify and shut down these diploma mills, that are fronts for human traffickers,” said District Attorney Rackauckas. “I want to extend my profound gratitude to Senator Lou Correa for authoring and championing this legislature and to Governor Brown for signing it.”
SB 285 was passed unanimously by the California Senate and Assembly on May 31, 2011, and July 14, 2011, respectively. The bill was developed by Senator Correa and District Attorney Rackauckas and introduced by Senator Correa on Feb. 14, 2011, with input from CMTC.
Massage therapists are required to complete 500 hours of training from a licensed massage school in order to be certified in the State of California. The certification is governed by CMTC or individual cities. Prior to SB 285, massage therapy schools and organizations were selling massage school certificates, transcripts, or diplomas to untrained individuals knowing that person had not received proper instruction as required by CMTC without violating any criminal law.
Unethical businesses operating under the guise of massage parlors used the ability to purchase fraudulent massage therapist diplomas as a cover for the operation of prostitution rings. The only reason to sell these certificates, transcripts, or diplomas is to defraud the public and provide a cover story for those engaged in human trafficking to continue violating human rights by forcing women to engage in forced sexual slavery. The women tend to be indigent foreign nationals who have few resources.
SB 285 aims to impact human trafficking by making it a misdemeanor to provide “a certificate, transcript, diploma, or other document, or otherwise affirms that person has received instruction in massage therapy knowing that the person has not…”
Violators may be punished with up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 628) is added to Title 15 of Part 1 of the Penal Code, to read: CHAPTER 1.3. MASSAGE THERAPY
628. A person who provides a certificate, transcript, diploma, or other document, or otherwise affirms that a person has received instruction in massage therapy knowing that the person has not received instruction in massage therapy or knowing that the person has not received massage therapy instruction consistent with that document or affirmation is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per violation, or imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
628.5. For any person that is criminally prosecuted for a violation of law in connection with massage therapy, including for crimes relating to prostitution, the arresting law enforcement agency may provide to the California Massage Therapy Council, created pursuant to Section 4600.5 of the Business and Professions Code, information concerning the massage therapy instruction received by the person prosecuted, including the name of the school attended, if any.
SEC. 2. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.