True Story! When I was 19, I took a job at a naughty massage parlor. Accidentally. This was before cell phones. And before professional job sites like Indeed & LinkedIn, even Craigslist. Back then you found jobs in the local newspaper, so when I saw an add in the OC Register for a Massage Therapist in a local chiropractic office I was elated! I submitted my resume, and even though I was a student (at the time) I was called in for an interview! I met with what seemed like; a normal chiropractor in what seemed like a normal chiropractic office in a normal Orange County, CA neighborhood for a normal interview. No one was in the office during the interview except for me and the Doctor but it was around lunchtime so I assumed everyone was out for a bite to eat. He hired me on the spot, asking if I would start the following day. Having not yet been a practicing massage therapist (I was only three months into my year-long training) I didn’t have anything to compare this to. I thought therefore this process was normal. At 19, I was so eagerly to work in a field I felt I was called to (most healers do). When I showed up the following day: the Chiropractor was no where to be found and the empty office was now full of scantily dressed young women. Who where mostly of Asian decent. Again, having never worked in the field... I didn’t recognize that as a red flag. I asked where the Doctor was and they said he was off for the day. Again no eyebrows where raised by me. I remember thinking it was odd that the other girls weren't wearing scrubs like me. I felt somewhat overdressed but my training made it very clear scrubs where proper attire. The girls giggled and made fun of my uniform but I laughed it off and figured they where just very relaxed sort of therapists. I spent most of the morning in the waiting room with the girls (waiting for clients). Right before lunchtime the receptionist answered a call and I heard her say
“We have a white girl!”
You’d think it would’ve dawned on me then. Sadly it did not. The patron walked in soon after for his appointment with the white girl (me). I showed him to the massage room
I’d been assigned to and instructed him to undress, and get under the towel they’d supplied me with (another red flag) face down saying that I’d be back in a minute and give a knock on the door before reentering.
“You don’t have to leave.” He said.
“I do.” I replied. At this point I was more confused.
“Why? None of the other girls do.”
And at that exact moment it dawned on me! I was in a prostitution parlor! Stunned, scared and embarrassed I pulled the door closed towards me. Leaving the man in the cold dark room alone. I walked directly to the back office where I’d left my purse and other belongings, grabbed them and walked straight out the door without saying anything to anyone. Out of the office doors I ran to my car! I felt like I was fleeing a crime scene. Imagining a mob of young Asian girls from the office, chasing me in their spaghetti strapped baby tee's! I got in my car and drove off fast as I could...never looking back. I don’t imagine they actually chased me, but if they did I wouldn’t know. Peeling out of the parking lot I began to cry. I felt violated. Exploited. And Finally, ashamed. When I returned home I called a friend to share the days events with her. She suggested I call the police. But you can’t just call 911 and say you accidentally worked in a whore house. Or maybe you can? So after thinking about it & calling the county, then the non emergency police line, then an investigator- I was finally referred to the vice unit. For whatever reason (at the time) they didn’t give me much assistance. In fact I wrote my own report (it was more like an essay) and forced them to allow me to submitted it. Who knows if anyone ever read it. It wasn’t until years later, nearly 10 that I began to understand the gravity of the situation I’d been exposed to. Human trafficking. It’s a real thing. I’ve sat next to it. Spent the afternoon with it. It’s under our noses, in our neighborhoods. Those poor provocatively clothed young girls! Did they not know any better? Did they not have any better option? Where they working there willingly? And poor little 19 year old me! What if that experience had ended my aspirations to work as a licensed massage therapist! It very well could’ve! Tarnishing my views of a profession I’d felt called to (as most healers are). Luckily it did not. But what if? I did get a job with a legitimate chiropractor after that, who I worked with for 9 years. Then I opened my own practice in my own building. A body center I called Massage Works. We treated athletes like Gerry Lopez and Alex Cjeka. Finally I took everything I’d learned and brought Massage Therapy to seniors of Assisted Living and created the nations first accredited training program for massage therapy in senior living with The Good Hands List ™️. My work with seniors has been recognized by organizations like the NCTMB and Massage Magazine.
But still, to this day I fight against these establishments. I collaborate with more improved vice squads now. Municipalities. Even lawmakers to end the exploitation of young girls and the loopholes that allow these brothels disguised as dingy day spas to remain in business!
photo: Massage Therapists from Massage Works in San Clemente; Erik Johnson, LMT, Luke Strode, LMT, Cory Scurlock, LMT (owner) & Pro Surfer Gerry Lopez (left to right).
The question I asked law enforcement that day some 18 years ago... is a question still unanswered. Who benefits from allowing these shady establishments to exploit young women offering illegitimate services disguised as massage therapy and why aren't we doing enough to stop it? To learn more about Cory Scurlock and The Massage Inc. visit us at www.themassageinc.com or call us at (800) 696-9747.