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Crime and Courts

City Officials Propose Regulations On Massage Parlors To Combat Human Trafficking

massage_parlor.jpg
Tony Webster
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Flickr Creative Commons

Wichita City Council members are considering an ordinance that looks to end human trafficking and sex crimes within local massage parlors.

The Wichita Police Department reports that there have been more than 30 massage businesses investigated in the last two years, which have produced 33 arrests for human trafficking and other sex crimes.

Kansas is one of only five states where a license isn’t required to operate a massage business. Captain Kevin Mears of the Wichita Police Department says this lack of regulation is enticing to human traffickers.

“It’s more than one just person that we interview that has said, ‘We come here because you have no regulations,’” Mears told council members. “It’s multiple human traffickers who say that to my investigators on a routine basis.”

Representatives from various city departments, including police, fire and the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department, helped draft the ordinance, which would require licensing for massage businesses and permits for message therapists.

Additionally, the ordinance would require that anyone who works at a massage business be at least 18 years of age, not be a registered sex offender and not have convictions for felony/moral turpitude for the past five years.

The ordinance is still being discussed, but city officials say that keeping closer tabs on these businesses will help reduce sex crimes in Wichita.

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