The multi-agency operation resulted from complaints that a number of Asian physical therapy establishments in the area were offering sex acts among their paid services, according to sheriff's officials.
Additionally, the North County city's licensing department reported having received an "abnormally high number" of applications for massage-therapist licenses certification and approvals to run day spas and acupuncture offices, Capt. Tim Curran said.
Beginning early this afternoon, sheriff's investigators, city personnel and officers with several area police departments raided the following businesses: Bright Acupuncture, JW Acupuncture, Li Jun Acupuncture I, Li Jun Acupuncture II, Melrose Spa, Seren Acu-Care, Touch of Asian Day Spa, Vista Health Center and Vista Town Spa.
The 22 arrested women, most of them Chinese nationals, were booked on suspicion of prostitution, illegal touching and various municipal codes, the captain said.
Immigration checks determined that some of the suspects were in the country illegally, according to Curran.