Who Can Be Charged in Massage Parlor Prostitution Stings?


Prostitution doesn’t occur like it is shown on TV anymore. Most people aren’t busted for prostitution while standing on a street corner, at least not anymore, and especially not in Minnesota where the nights are chilly. Instead, now most prostitution is run out of a business that they can use as a front. Escort services are popular covers as providing “companionship” is perfectly legal if there is no sex in exchange for money involved. However, another popular venue that serves as a cover for prostitution is the massage parlor. Within, customers go inside for a massage, and in the private back room, they can choose to pay for various additional services.

However, while both escort services and massage parlors are popular covers, law enforcement has long since caught on to them. This means that they are popular targets for stings. While not all massage parlors engage in prostitution, if there is something technically illegal going in on the back rooms, one undercover operation can unravel the whole thing and result in a whole lot of people potentially in legal trouble.

Who is Targeted in Massage Parlor Prostitution Stings?

When law enforcement conducts an undercover sting, they aren’t necessarily targeting the customers of the massage parlor, but rather the business owner and those that work there. If a customer is unlucky enough to be there at the time of the raid, they will be arrested as well if caught in a compromising position.

Often prostitution raids on massage parlors are not just about charging the workers with prostitution and the owners with pimping, often law enforcement and prosecutors will levy a number of charges against those involved to make sure they get maximum punishments. These include:

  • Prostitution
  • Pimping
  • Pandering (encouraging others to work in prostitution)
  • Loitering with the intent to commit prostitution
  • Tax evasion
  • Money laundering
  • Labor code violations
  • Licensing violations

Many of the above are to make sure that the business owners are hit very hard, but even if some of the workers were on standby, they can face criminal charges. Prosecutors, for some reason, think that by charging these workers with criminal charges, they are somehow helping them get out of a life of sex work. Really, they are just making it so they need to find new avenues for prostitution to pay the fines and legal fees from the previous criminal charges.

What to Do If Caught in a Prostitution Sting?

No matter if you were a customer, an employee, or a business owner of a massage parlor, if you were caught in a prostitution sting, you need to make your legal defense a priority. Every prostitution case is different and often it depends on what was happening at the time of arrest. If you were a customer that was fully clothed and not yet serviced, you may be able to avoid charges altogether. However, if you were caught in a compromising position, it will mean legal action for prostitution against employee and the customer.

After the arrest has been made, your first step no matter what role you played in the massage parlor – customer, employee, or owner – you need to make your lawyer one of your first calls. A good defense lawyer can help analyze the charges and start working on a defense right away. They may even be able to argue some charges to be dropped so you can face a lesser punishment or none at all.

If you are in Minnesota and have been busted for prostitution, your defense needs to start early. Contact us today to see what the defense team as Speas Law Firm can do to help your case.

Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case. Please read our disclaimer.