City continues to fight against human trafficking with massage parlor ordinance

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The city continues its fight against human trafficking by starting with businesses that pose as massage parlors but really take part in illegal activity behind closed doors.

After weeks of discussion, the Code and Regulations committee voted tonight to adopt an ordinance that will regulate massage parlors. The hope is that businesses that take part in illegal activity will be able to be shut down for good.

The new ordinance will allow every business that offers massages to have requirements under a license that's given by the city. The new ordinance also proposes a $75 annual fee to those businesses so the city can come in and monitor the massage parlors. Aldermen say the city has shut down a few parlors, but some pop up again, and this ordinance will allow the city to shut them down for good.

"We want to make sure that that isn't happening in our community, and that both sides of it whether it's the massage parlor or the people who are coming in to the community. We want to make sure that people know that it's not good for our community and we're going to police it, we're going to go after those people that are causing harm,” said 9th Ward Alderman Bill Rose.

Aldermen say human trafficking is a growing concern within our community and being able to regulate massage parlors and shut down the ones that aren't legit is a step in the right direction in tackling the issue.

The Code and Regulations Committee passed the ordinance. The full city council will have the chance to vote on it before it can take effect.