San Jose neighbors want spas shut down

Protesters gathered outside two spas in San Jose’s Rosemary Gardens neighborhood Saturday night, to speak out against what they believe are establishments connected to prostitution and human trafficking. 

Employees of “Angel Day Spa” and “Seacret Day Spa” on North First Street told KTVU off camera that they were legitimate businesses not involved in illegal activity of any kind.  However, online advertisements listing the addresses and phone numbers for both spas seemed to indicate otherwise.  One ad boasted of “gorgeous, hot white mexican” (sic) women, and another promised women who are “young and beautiful” with “perfect bodies.”

“Their advertising ties in with a lot of the advertising you’ll see with the other massage parlors that are operating illegally as sex trafficking,” said San Jose City Councilman Raul Peralez, whose district includes Rosemary Gardens.  Peralez said San Jose is dealing with a massive problem with illegal massage parlors, with about 330 of the 400 parlors in San Jose believed to be involved in illegal activity.  Cracking down on the problem, he said, isn’t easy.

“We know it’s hard to be able to get inside, do an undercover operation, to find out if it’s masking itself as a legitimate massage parlor... especially with an understaffed police department, we know that’s difficult,” Peralez said.

San Jose has closed only about half a dozen massage parlors since this past April when police performed a number of raids on those parlors believed to be operating illegally, said Peralez.  The progress is slow, which is why neighbors say they’ve taken matters into their own hands.

“We’re not going to tolerate this. We’re going to keep coming out and making it very uncomfortable for them to operate their business,” said Judi Zamora, who organized the protest.

Protesters said they will continue to put pressure on the two spas to close up shop, and will organize future protests periodically.