New Licensing Regulations Help Cities Fight Sex Trafficking
New licensing regulations are helping cities in the Metro fight sex trafficking in massage parlors. Minneapolis passed a regulation that resulted in the closing of 12 unlicensed businesses, The Star Tribune reports. Three of those parlors were cited for illegal activity. Saint Paul, Woodbury, and Apple Valley have passed similar regulations. City officials in Eden Prairie are also working on their own license requirement.
The state of Minnesota does not require proprietors to purchase a license to open a massage parlor. This allows some illegal trafficking operations to slip under the radar, using massage businesses as fronts for sex trafficking. As a result, it is often difficult for police to shut down these operations. New license requirements give police and city officials better tools to shut down massage parlors engaging in prostitution. Minneapolis now requires massage businesses to pay a yearly license fee, which can be revoked if the business commits unlawful acts like inappropriate fondling, nudity or inappropriate exposure, and employment of anyone under 18. Violators may also need to pay a fine.
Minneapolis’ yearly license fee costs between $50 and $140, depending on the size of the business. The city started enforcing these rules in July 2014. They list several reasons where the city may revoke a massage license. For instance, massage business owners must allow inspection by city officials or police officers. Refusing to do so will result in the revocation of the business’s license.
Eden Prairie is working with the massage industry to develop their rules. The city wants to make sure legitimate businesses aren’t affected by the regulations.
Photo via city-data.com