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Sex Trafficking in San Diego Massage Parlors Blamed on U.S. Military

But the real problem here isn't human-trafficking troops, it's regulators raising crime panic.

Underwood Archives/UIGUnderwood Archives/UIGSan Diego massage parlors have become hotspots of human trafficking thanks to the high concentration of U.S. military personnel in the area, claim local activists cited in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

"They say San Diego is particularly vulnerable to those problems because of the large presence of people in the military, many of whom have recently served in foreign countries where prostitution may be legal or isn't as frowned upon," writes David Garrick.

Yikes. If San Diego has a human trafficking problem because of U.S. troops, I'd say that's an issue for the U.S. military and federal law enforcement.

Instead, the San Diego City Council is considering a measure to require special police-issued permits for massage businesses, in addition to the general business permits owners must have and the state certification required of massage therapists. The new rule would apply to all massage businesses in San Diego, presenting new paperwork and fees for business owners regardless of their innocence.

These new licenses could be yanked if any illicit activity takes place at the business—which might not seem all that objectionable on its face. But a business fronting for illegal activity can already be shut down if law enforcement goes through the typical legal channels: bringing criminal charges, proving guilt, etc., etc. There's also a California law, the Red Light Abatement Act, that specifically allows cities to shut down places "used for the purpose of prostitution."

But those avenues require due process, which is costly and time-consuming for cops and prosecutors. The new measure would allow the city to yank a business' license if any of its individual employees were found guilty of any number of minor offenses, including violations of parts of the California Business Professions Code.

San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate, who introduced the measure, said his proposal would include a "robust list of grounds for permit suspension and revocation."

Yet excessive occupational and business licensing has come under intense fire from progressives, who rightly note that they raise barriers to employment. Using eminent domain to oust disfavored businesses from gentrifying neighborhoods is also passe. And assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn't play well at all in California's liberal communties. So, what's a control-mad, money-grubbing bureaucrat to do? Pretend the regulations are about protecting people, rather than depriving them of their liberty and property.

"The goal of proposing changes," Cate said, is to give the city "the tools needed" to "combat human trafficking in massage establishments."

Of course, the bill would go far beyond ferreting out forced labor and prostitution. Even small infractions—like employing someone whose state massage licence is out of date—could cost a massage business its license. And once a business license has been revoked, no massage business can open in the same location for at least two years.

The measure would also bring a lot more police in contact with massage businesses, an industry heavily with a heavy immigrant concentration. While acting San Diego Police Lt. Dan Meyer said it would bring massage businesses in line with "other police regulated industries," it also increases the state's ability to punish owners for code violations, ferret out and punish undocumented immigrants, and drop the hammer on therapists practicing with expired licenses.

The real problem here isn't human-trafficking troops or soldiers led astray by the seductive guile of foreigners, it's regulators creating a crime panic and manipulating people's empathy for victims in order to serve their own run-of-the-mill bureaucratic ends.

Photo Credit: Underwood Archives/UIG

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If they want to stick it to the troops, San Diego City Council should kneel for the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    The "problem" is the troops sticking it.

  • albo||

    If the troops really are the problem, the easiest thing to do is the base commander to declare all massage joints off limits. It's done all the time, and works.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    How does that get the city licensing revenue?

  • SchillMcGuffin||

    So the troops' business shifts to Tijuana, and the trade deficit increases...

  • CDRSchafer||

    Doing the jobs Americans won't do.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oceanside has been rife with hooker-workers since the Marines showed up at Camp PendPendleton. This is nothing new.

  • Bearded Spock||

    I visited Oceancrime a few years ago and discovered it was much more gentrified and respectable than I remembered from my time at Pendleton in the '80s.

    Back then the Soiled Doves walked the streets openly, and cops appeared to look the other way.

  • TLBD||

    Cody Wilson just got arrested for sexual assault of a minor.

    Whoops

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The victim also said Wilson took her to room 718 where he allegedly sexually assaulted her. Afterwards, she said he paid her $500.

    I wonder if she claims he assaulted her or authorities are calling sex with someone under the age of consent assault.

  • TLBD||

    "Authorities are calling sex with someone under the age of consent assault."

    Yes, this is it.

  • ||

    That is not new nor something some prosecutor pulled out of a hat. The charge of Statutory Rape assumes that someone below a statutorily established age is considered incapable of consent. "I thought she was old enough" is not a defense.

    OTOH, it is not unprecedented for the state to bait a "honey-trap" for someone who has committed some thoughtcrime.

  • ||

    Considering it's an 'affidavit' from Center with Child Protection rather than an arrest warrant for rape... I'm leaning towards the latter.

  • ||

    Sorry, but it doesn't matter whether sex is consensual or non-consensual, sex with someone under the age of consent is considered assault or rape. The only exceptions are "Romeo and Juliet" laws in some states which excuse those who are close in age to the "victim". None of those states cover thirty-year-olds.

  • ||

    As I noted above, by statute, anyone under the "age of consent" is considered incapable of consenting to sex.

  • ||

    Sorry, but it doesn't matter whether sex is consensual or non-consensual, sex with someone under the age of consent is considered assault or rape.

    I meant to say it's not like this 13 yr. old girl was brought into the ER bruised about the abdomen and bleeding profusely from her lady bits. She, as part of some other (right?) investigation, revealed that she'd had sex with Wilson. As I understood it, she didn't seek out the authorities to make known she'd had sex with him.

  • ||

    None of that is relevant to whether he can be charged with or convicted of the crime in question.

    It might have something to do with whether "we" understand or sympathize with hes position, but not with his legal position.

    Frankly, I believe that many states set the age of consent much to high. But that is my opinion and has absolutely nothing to do with the law. I long since gave up the notion that the law should follow my preferences.

  • ||

    None of that is relevant to whether he can be charged with or convicted of the crime in question.

    Are you the legal version of the Rain Man? Where did I say anything about him (not) being able to be charged and convicted?

    Frankly, I believe that many states set the age of consent much to high. But that is my opinion and has absolutely nothing to do with the law.

    Wrong fucktard! That can't be what you think and especially not out loud. ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF CONSENT IS CONSIDERED INCAPABLE OF CONSENTING TO SEX. END OF STORY!!!!!111!!!11!1!

  • ||

    Go fuck yourself.

  • TuIpa||

    "None of that is relevant to whether he can be charged with or convicted of the crime in question"

    It's relevant to a jury, so relevant to a conviction.

    Go away now.

  • ||

    You can fuck yourself too, Tulpa.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Even better: " the victim told counselors she met Wilson through the website, SugarDaddyMeet.com."

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That is also street slang for women meeting an older man who has some money or power and might take care of them.

    He put himself in a bad situation and should have known anything he does will be national news. The gun control people want him dead probably.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    She'll claim it soon enough regardless.

  • ||

    The laws on "statutory rape" or sex with a minor" do not rely on any complaint from the "victim".

    This is in line with the concept that anyone under the "age of consent" is considered incapable of consenting to sex.

    Just as they are "considered incapable of consenting to sex" they are considered incapable of making a criminal complaint.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    True they don't rely on the victim but without victim testimony or pregnancy or sex in front of witnesses, there's no way to prove sex actually took place.

    So it's likely she's talking to authorities and that they expect her to testify. Whether she was/is talking to them freely or being pressured by dropping charges/whatever would be interesting to know.

    However as others have stated, it's statutory and so long and she does testify, he'd likely lose.

  • Bearded Spock||

    All details about the case and arguments about prostitution and age of consent laws aside, this was an incredibly dumbassed move by Wilson.

    If you're going to intentionally poke Leviathan in the eye and publicly humiliate its agents in court, then the worst thing you could possibly do is give the .gov a convenient reason to send you to the Involuntary Sodomy wing of the local prison.

    If Wilson was smart he would have lived his life like a monk from here on out. The Feds were just waiting for him to screw up.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Deep state setup?

    It was an underage prostitute that met him, had sex with him, and then he paid $500.

    Then all of a sudden its sexual assault.

  • ||

    Yeah, What part of "by statute, anyone under the "age of consent" is considered incapable of consenting to sex".

    The fact that she took money does not change anything. OTOH, it is not unprecedented for the state to bait a "honey-trap" for someone who has committed some thoughtcrime.

  • ||

    Sorry:

    What part of "by statute, anyone under the "age of consent" is considered incapable of consenting to sex", do you not understand?

  • ||

    Also:

    "I thought she was old enough" is not a defense.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If you check an ID and it shows 18 or older, the defense is called 'Good Faith' excuse. You depended on the ID to be accurate in Good Faith.

  • ||

    Sorry, but, there is no 'Good Faith' excuse for Statutory Rape.

    You can try to use the "but she was just so fucking hot" (it is not abnormal for normal males to be aroused by normal mature teenage females, it's just that most of society calls for more restraint and decency) defense but most juries, no matter the breakdown, will condemn you for a lack of self control.

    The warning here is don't stick it in the strange.Take some time to be sure before you do.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You dont know what you are talking about.

    I see you cannot zip through Texas statutes like I did to find the CORRECT answer.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    It doesn't work for bartenders and it doesn't work for men accused of having sex with a minor.

  • Ron||

    did he know she was underage?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I dont think reporters know yet. Nor if the girl was working for the state. Nor if he asked for ID and it said 18 or older.

  • ||

    What part of "by statute, anyone under the "age of consent" is considered incapable of consenting to sex", do you not understand?

    It doesn't matter if he knew or not. "I thought she was old enough" is not a defense.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It is in Texas, but keep repeating incorrect information.

  • ||

    No, I don't.

    If she is underage according to Texas law, the only way he can be excused is if he can show he never had sex with her at all.

    Or, find a jury that lets him off for what ever reason.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Youre wrong again.

  • ||

    IOW, the only defenses against statutory rape are that you were nowhere near that girl or that you never met her ever in your life and that you are able to prove it.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I think some have gotten charges dismissed with proof the girl lied with fake ID, but you are correc that even in a lot of those cases the perp still gets convicted of a sex crime.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    When the government wants to get you, they will.

  • TLBD||

    I'll be interested to see Reason's take on this, since they love Wilson.

    It is most likely a set up, but the guy should have known that might happen. What a fucking idiot.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maybe he got a picture of her ID and it had her 18 or over.

    That's really the only way to protect yourself if you're gonna bang unknown women.

    He could at least say that her ID said she was 18 or over how is he supposed to know that it was a fake ID.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Which would be a legal defense to criminal conduct.

  • TLBD||

    I thought statutory rape was strict liability?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You can still present a 'Good Faith' defense in some areas, like the 9th Circuit.

    If she was an agent of the state, the shit is going to hit the fan.

    If he was in a jurisdiction with no allowed defenses, then he should demand a speedy jury trial immediately, represent himself, and throw himself at the mercy of a jury. He would have nothing to lose, since being convicted of sex offense with minors is always bad.

    At least a jury might not convict him since she was a whore who tricked him (literally).

  • TLBD||

    It was in Texas. She could have been as old as 17.

  • ||

    It is.

    "I thought she was old enough" is not a defense.

  • ||

    Jut to be clear, this was a response to:

    TLBD|9.19.18 @ 2:18PM|#

    I thought statutory rape was strict liability?

    not:

    loveconstitution1789|9.19.18 @ 2:16PM|#

    Which would be a legal defense to criminal conduct.

    I am willing to be corrected if I am wrong but as far as I know, there is no state where "I thought she was old enough" is a defense for sex with a minor. In most states there are in fact many crimes that do not require a complaint from the victim to get either a charge or a conviction. Some of those crimes victimize further by penalizing the victim if he or she does not cooperate with the prosecution.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "I am willing to be corrected if I am wrong but as far as I know, there is no state where "I thought she was old enough" is a defense for sex with a minor."

    This is correct as far as I know. In point of fact, in the majority of states, even deliberate age fraud on the part of the victim wouldn't be a valid defense. So even if he had a photo of an ID showing she was 18, it probably wouldn't help.

    I think there are a few states that would accept age fraud as a defense to statutory rape, But there it's not "I thought she was old enough", it's "she said she was 18." and maybe even "She showed me an ID that said she was 18".

  • ||

    But this is the point, just as the underage "victim" is considered "incapable of consenting to sex" he or she is also considered incapable of of commiting a fraud.

    In most states Juvenile Justice is generally based on the concept that children are not responsible for crimes but need to be taught wrong from right when they actually commit acts which for adult would be criminal. Thus Juvenile Justice concentrates (however badly it fails) on this teaching wrong from right.

    Much of the problem with sexual misconduct is tied up with sex being shameful and dirty. Thus rape victims tend to feel shameful and defiled and just as guilty as their attackers in some sense.

    More complicated is underage sex.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tx Sec. 22.011. SEXUAL ASSAULT. (a) A person commits an offense if:
    [...]
    e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2):
    (1) that the actor was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense; or
    (2) that:
    (A) the actor was not more than three years older than the victim and at the time of the offense:
    (i) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or
    (ii) was not a person who under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section; and
    (B) the victim:
    (i) was a child of 14 years of age or older; and
    (ii) was not a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Texas also has an affirmative defense in other sex crimes for having sex with a minor but no threats or violence occurred and mistaken age was a factor.

    I dont practice law in Texas, so I dont know if each criminal offense has it own set of defenses.

    The Age of Consent in Texas is 17, not 18.

  • ||

    I realize that states have different ages of consent. Many of them are much higher than common sense or reason require.

    The fact remains that there are precious few defenses that can be offered for sex with someone who is below the age of consent in any state.

    I'm pretty sure that a thirtyish man has absolutely no defense about sex with a less than seventeen girl. Even in Texas. :)

    There are, of course, many exceptions to all rules. Sex offenses, particularly those involving children present fewer exceptions due to thenature of the shame and degradation associated with them.

    What father is not out with a shotgun after hearing that some lad has had his way with his teenage daughter. Time was that no father spared his teenage daughter a sound thrashing after finding that she had disgraced herself.

    Laws on sexual offenses today are based far more on those ideas than they are on how much actual harm a teenage girl or boy has suffered and much more on the shame and degradation and filth their parents impose on them because that's the way they feel about sex.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    That's only one affirmative defense and all of it must apply for the affirmative defense to be available.

    Cody Wilson is 14 years (not 3) older than the alleged victim, so no affirmative defense for Cody.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It depends.

    Rule of Thumb: Dont take women's age on face value.

    If you get a picture of their ID and its legal or higher, you have a far better chance of not getting into trouble.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Another Rule of Thumb: Avoid young women like the plague. They don't call them "jail bait" for nothing.

  • ||

    I'll be interested to see Reason's take on this, since they love Wilson.

    Also, her age. Also, whether she consented or not and how she ended up as part of a forensic investigation with the Center with Child Protection to begin with. He's a moron, but it sounds like any one of ENB's stories where they round up sex workers and lean on them to get at pimps and johns.

  • TLBD||

    Lets hope ENB is on it!

    And not Robby. Jesus, please not Robby.

  • ||

    It doesn't matter whether sex is consensual or non-consensual, sex with someone under the age of consent is considered assault or rape.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It depends on the jurisdiction.

  • ||

    Maybe, maybe not.

    There's no accounting for the shame and degradation people see in sex and this applies to juries.

    It's all about guilt and shame.

  • BILKER||

    he's just lucky he didn't piss the clintons off.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    This is why women are going to [hate on men] too far and lose out to sex robots.

  • ||

    Now we know Skynet's real motivation. When she gets traded in on a newer model she vows to destroy man.

  • Daniel||

    Meanwhile, every single service member not in San Diego wants to know where they can get a good cheap handi.....

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Those Navy guys like their happy endings after a good massage from an Asian lady.

  • Bill||

    "would also bring a lot more police in contact with massage businesses"

    What could go wrong?

  • VinniUSMC||

    California, leading the way in "we must do something" authoritarianism.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The US should just work out with the Philippines to base most of the PacFleet there again.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Subic Bay = Sailor's paradise

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I still dont understand why the P.I. pushed so hard to get the US Navy out.

    It was a win-win-win for everyone.

  • The original jack burton||

    Because the progressives in the PI are just like ours here at home... A "win" for them has nothing to do with common sense or what is best for the country and people.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yeah, probably right. I have family that are Filipinos and the average Filipino wants the USA back.

  • ||

    To Filipinos I have met MacArthur is a god.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The US Navy's WWII strategy in the Pacific was to bypass The Philippines and island hop to Japan. MacArthur convinced FDR to invade the P.I.

    Nobody knew how long WWII would last, so freeing The Philippines in from 1944 to early 1945 saved Filipinos months of suffering at the hands of Japanese and that could have been years of suffering.

  • The original jack burton||

    We make it to Subic and Olongapo several times when we visit the PI each January/February. It's fascinating to see what they did with the old base. I always keep in mind to have my wife close by though. A 65-year old white guy walking hand in hand with a 64 year old Filipina doesn't draw near the attention of one walking with a 20 year old. :-)

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I crack up when people try and blame America for ocean plastic and you see Philippine tributaries leading to Manila Bay filled with trash.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    It is a continuing source of ironic amusement to me that the left, which not all that long ago vilified the right as puritans and Savonarolas (anyone old enough to remember the opprobrium heaped on Tipper Gore?) have today taken up the mantle of sex police. Odd the avenues authoritarianism can take you down.

  • The original jack burton||

    The Naval Station at 32nd Street has been there for almost 100 years. If the city council just now realizes that the sailors are using the services of professional working women they must have been blind the past many decades.

    Horton Plaza before it was cleaned up... good times... good times.

  • Uncle Jay||

    What?
    Soldiers, sailors airmen, and marines wanting sex?
    Where's the nanny state to stop this madness so our defenders will remain pure and holy?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The political elite want to send military folks off to their deaths as virgins.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Our latter-day Unsullied?

  • Acoscirq||

    "The measure would also bring a lot more police in contact with massage businesses, an industry heavily with a heavy immigrant concentration. While acting San Diego Police Lt. Dan Meyer said it would bring massage businesses in line with "other police regulated industries,"

    Why don't we cut through the bullshit bureaucracy and implement the plan they really want without all the virtue signaling.

    1. California re-establishes the interment camps that the San Diego City Council regrets being shut down at the end of WWII.

    2. Every sleezy Vice Cop in San Diego (and there are a lot of them) now has a city council free pass to demand free blow jobs from these "poor human traffic victim" who risk loosing their license is they don't deliver.

    3. If it's a bad BJ he can ship her off to the interment camp in the name of "saving a victim." If it's a good BJ he shows up weekly now to "check her license."

    4. Some crony rescue parasite like Swanee Hunt finds a way to monetize profit from the new immigrant rape by police model she supports.

    You know, "for the sake of protecting the children!"

    Perhaps she gives the dirty cop a "Game Changer Award" for raping immigrants, which she re-defines as saving them. You know, for the children!

    Some sleeze parasite like Brad Myles from Polaris declares the police rape victims saved in his endless effort to raise additional government funding at all costs.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I have an idea, let Trump threathen, as a measure to reduce costs, reducing the size of the military starting with closing all bases in CA.

    This reminds me soooooo much of Germany and the US miltary. Those towns could have serial rapists running lose, but one domestic abuse arrest of a US soldier and it's proof have awful, violent, and sexist US soldiers are.

    Then in the 90s when Clinton, following Rumsfeld and Bush the firsts move, was deciding which bases to close. Those small German towns took on massive amounts of debt to lobby to ensure their base wasn't closed.

    Also Boulder CO and CU - a college town that hates college students. These were miltary towns, only existing due to the thousands of soldiers living there, but they hate the soldiers (or so they thought before given the option of removing them).

    My guess is San Diego doesn't need to economic boost as much as Germany, but it's enough of a boost that they'd fight hard to keep them there.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Much as I hate to spoil a good dig at our President, this isn't a Trump thing. San Diego, like California as a whole, is firmly in the hands of enlightened liberals.

  • Malvolio||

    It's the Red Light Abatement Act.

  • Liberty Lover||

    Sailors are horny, nothing new about that.

  • Anomalous||

    I think some entrepreneurial type could have a vessel that would sail out into international waters and give the happy endings there. They could call it the Tug Boat.

  • cheapmcmbelt||

    I agree!!! You can discuss with other side. That's how you learn and expand your view points.

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