After a five-month crackdown on prostitution-related activity in unlicensed Hollywood massage parlors, Hollywood police, working with federal Homeland Security investigators, arrested 24 women who police say performed sex acts on customers in exchange for payment inside the massage parlors.
The women were charged with some combination of the following: soliciting prostitution, practicing without a license, misrepresenting themselves as licensed masseurs or bribery and conspiracy.
According to a press release from Hollywood police, police say Giselle Guo, 43, and Yan Zheng, 47, told an undercover detective they would pay him $400 a month for officers to stay away from their two businesses. Guo was operating Lucky Spa at 7060 Taft St. and Zheng was the owner of Hollywood Unisex at 2126 Hollywood Blvd.
Authorities also found beds, clothes and food at some of the parlors. Several women admitted to living in their parlors, police said.
The sting began in March after the city received numerous complaints from businesses and residents, according to Hollywood police spokesperson Miranda Grossman. A month later, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations joined the case.
To address the proliferation of massage parlors, the Hollywood City Commission passed a measure in June 2015 that required massage parlors to distance themselves from each other. The commission also required all massage parlors to display massage therapists’ licensing credentials.
“We will continue to crack down on these types of businesses which are used as fronts for prostitution,” Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez said in a statement. “These massage parlors breed other criminal activities including human and sex trafficking, drug sales, and money laundering.”
One of the businesses, Xhale Spas on 5808 Johnson St., voluntarily shut down after the arrest. The location is now a shoe store.