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Massage Parlors for Prostitution

Prostitution is illegal in Florida. If the prostitution activity occurs in a “massage establishment” that is or should be licensed under Florida Statute Section 480.043, then harsher penalties apply. For these enhancements to apply, it must be proven that the massage establishment is owned, established, maintained, or operated for the purpose of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution.

As provided in § 480.033(4), Fla. Stat., the term “massage therapist” means a person licensed by the state of Florida, who administers massage for compensation.

As provided in § 480.033(7) and § 480.033(4), Fla. Stat., the term “massage establishment” is defined to mean a site or premises, or portion thereof, wherein a massage therapist practices massage. In Florida, the message establishment is often called a “message parlor.”

Other related crimes include failing to provide required documents while working in or operating the message parlor under § 480.0535, Fla. Stat. Additionally, the owners of the message establishment might be charged with crimes related to maintaining a place of prostitution under § 796.07(2)(a) or human trafficking under Section 787.06(3), Fla. Stat.

Attorney for Massage Prostitution Crimes in Tampa, FL

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients charged with either offering or soliciting prostitution in a message parlor. We also represent clients accused of performing messages for compensation without a message therapist license.

Law enforcement officers use elaborate sting operations to catch people going to a massage parlor with the expectation of receiving a erotic massage or sexual favors.

With offices in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County and in New Port Richey in Pasco County, we fight sexually motivated crimes throughout the greater Tampa Bay area. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation. Call 813-250-0500.

Definitions for of Massage for Prostitution Crimes

As provided in § 480.033(3), Fla. Stat., the term “massage” is defined to mean:

  • the manipulation of the soft tissues of the human body with the hand, foot, arm, or elbow, whether or not such manipulation is aided by hydrotherapy, including colonic irrigation, or thermal therapy;
  • any electrical or mechanical device; or
  • the application to the human body of a chemical or herbal preparation.

Penalties for Operating a Message Parlor in Florida

The statutory scheme provides for the following enhanced penalties:

  • A misdemeanor of the second degree for a first violation is reclassified as a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083;
  • A misdemeanor of the first degree for a second violation is reclassified as a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084; and
  • A felony of the third degree for a third or subsequent violation is reclassified as a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Failing to Provide Requirement Documents in the Message Establishment

Crimes related to failing to provide requirement documents while working in or operating a massage establishment are punishable as a second degree misdemeanor for a first violation. A second violation is a misdemeanor of the first degree. A third violation is a third degree felony.

To prove the crime of “Failure to Provide Required Documents While Working in or Operating a Massage Establishment,” the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. (Defendant) [was employed by a massage establishment] [was performing massage in a massage establishment] [operated a massage establishment].
  2. [A Department of Health investigator] [A law enforcement officer] requested valid government identification from (defendant).

If Defendant is charged with either being employed by a massage establishment or performing a massage in the massage establishment then the third element of the crime is that the Defendant failed to immediately produce:

  • a valid, unexpired driver license issued by a state, territory, or a district of the United States;
  • a valid, unexpired identification card issued by any state, territory, or district of the United States;
  • a valid, unexpired United States passport;
  • a naturalization certificate issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security;
  • a valid, unexpired alien registration receipt card;
  • a valid, unexpired employment authorization card issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

If the Defendant is charged with operating a massage establishment the the third element is that the Defendant failed to immediately produce for each employee and person performing massage in the establishment:

  • a valid, unexpired driver license issued by a state, territory, or a district of the United States.
  • a valid, unexpired identification card issued by any state, territory, or district of the United States.
  • a valid, unexpired United States passport.
  • a naturalization certificate issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security.
  • a valid, unexpired alien registration receipt card.
  • a valid, unexpired employment authorization card issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

This article was last updated on Friday, February 22, 2019.

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