City cracks down on massage parlors known for prostitution and human trafficking

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The city plans to crack down on so called massage parlors doing more than just massages behind closed doors.

Some of the people involved in these businesses are being abused sometimes even young children. That's according to alderman Venita Hervey who says she wants to cut off the flow and encouragement that allows establishments to bring people into the country for human trafficking.

The new law would give the city the power to shut down massage businesses that are involved in illegal activity without a valid license.

The city will have the authority to inspect massage parlors twice a year. Making sure all massage therapists are licensed by the state of Illinois. The new law will also ensure the facility complies with all building and zoning codes.

"It's unfortunate I think all communities are faced with the illegal massage parlors and I think Rockford has done a good job at shutting them down. They just need to keep doing it," says WB DaySpa Salon Howard Morris.

"It's human trafficking and that's what we're trying to prevent with this not medical massage or anything of that sort. So if we don't have the power to shut it down because we go in and we find people that we believe are being abused or are the subject of human trafficking then we are not doing what it needs to do," says 5th ward Alderman Venita Hervey.

There are no current regulations for massage parlors by the city... The proposal was held over and will go back to the codes and regulations committee.

Alderman Joe Chiarellie says he and alderman Frank Beach initiated the proposal looking at other communities for what best practices they have with combating human trafficking and prostitution at massage parlors.