Sex trade is booming in Clovis. That's according to the city's police department.
Clovis Police Corporal Vince Weibert said, “It's difficult to say exactly why we have an increase here, we certainly have seen an increase over the past year or two which is why we're responding to this with increased enforcement.”
Clovis and Fresno Police visited 10 massage parlors, after receiving complaints of potential sexual activity. They arrested 6 women at five of the locations.
“One of the locations had two persons present that we arrested. Those parties were arrested for violation for the penal code typically associated with prostitution. They were arrested for offering a sex act for money,” said Weibert.
The women have been identified as 40 year old Qui Wu, 37 year old Uvoniat Lucas, 59 year old Maoli Tian, 33 year Pitchaya Talley, 44 year old Mei Zhang and 61 year old Buachan Hatfield. Several of them were arrested at Asia Massage, China Massage and Bella Vita Day Spa. Old Town Clovis business owners and residents are shocked.
“I honestly don't see people going in and out, so I was wondering how they were even staying in business, so unless they're sneaking in the back door i don't know about,” said business owner, Brian Smard.
Clovis resident, Sherry Pascoe told KSEE 24, “You just never think something like this can go on. Just things like this. It's pretty shocking.”
“It kind of degrades Old Town Clovis a little bit, in my opinion,” said Clovis resident, Vanessa Tod.
Several massage parlors were also cited for violating licensing and building codes. Some of them even had built in showers to conduct shower massages.
Police say the sweep had been several months in the making.
“We've been gathering intelligence, complaints, been doing research online. A lot of these businesses advertise online, you can check out what they're doing on a variety of websites,” said Weibert.
There are nearly 200 licensed massage therapists, in Clovis. Police plan to continue their investigation by conducting inspections at all of the massage parlors in the city.