NEW CITY (CBSNewYork) – Rockland County has a new strategy for dealing with prostitution happening at strip mall storefronts.

As WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported, one of the spas accused of being a front for prostitution is right down the street from the Rockland County courthouse in New City.

Clarkstown police have conducted multiple sting operations at three such spas, arresting women, typically Asian immigrants. But authorities said the illegal activity continues.

“This is the first time that I know of that complaints have been filed under this particular public nuisance code,” Rockland County Acting Attorney Thomas Humbach told Adams. “It’ll be a civil case, seeking civil penalties that are allowed under the code provision – shuttering the business or locking the door.”

Fines could hit $1,000 per day, Humbach noted.

The goal is to have landlords clamp down on the illicit spas. Humbach said they can’t plead ignorance.

“Under the code, that doesn’t cut it. They’re presumed to know what’s happening on their property. We’re not here to punish the innocent, we’re here to stop the infractions from happening. So, we wake up the landlords,” he told Adams.

The landlords who have been cited has so far not commented.

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