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Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

Human traffickers will have a harder time doing illegal business in Denver thanks to a new ordinance passed by city officials Monday.

Driving the news: The Denver City Council approved a police-backed ordinance that requires massage businesses to obtain licenses to operate by July 1, 2022.

  • The new policy also bars sex acts on massage parlor premises.

Context: It follows a move in 2018 in Aurora that made it more difficult for people to operate massage companies as a cover for illicit sexual activities and human trafficking.

  • Since Aurora's crackdown, numerous parlors that were ordered closed there reopened in Denver with little oversight, a five-month 9News investigation found.

Why it matters: Establishing a licensing system will help local law enforcement officials keep tabs on the industry, which is largely uncontrolled across the state.

  • Colorado licenses massage therapists, but not parlor owners.

What's next: The city is home to up to 150 businesses that will need to be licensed, or face being shut down, Denverite reports.

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Go deeper

Colorado AG: Aurora police engaged in racially biased practices

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson and City Manager Jim Twombly at a press conference at Aurora Police Department Headquarters on July 27. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Wednesday that an investigation found the Aurora Police Department guilty of violating state and federal laws through a pattern of racially biased policing and excessive force.

Why it matters: The investigation began amid outrage over the death of Elijah McClain, which death drew renewed attention in the wake of George Floyd's murder and focused new attention on the practices of Aurora police officers.

Sep 16, 2021 - Axios Denver

Denver’s 2022 budget bounces back despite pandemic

Source: The City and County of Denver; Chart: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

The proposed $1.49 billion budget Mayor Michael Hancock unveiled Wednesday includes big bucks for public projects, recovery from cuts made this fiscal year, and investments addressing homelessness and preventing crime.

Between the lines: The suggested figures approach pre-pandemic levels, with revenue growth at $97.5 million, up 7% from 2021.

31 mins ago - World

UN chief urges U.S. and China to fix "dysfunctional relationship"

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a Sept. 13 press conference in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / Coffini/AFP via Getty Images

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres raised concerns in an interview with AP, published Monday, of another Cold War between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Guterres made the comments ahead of this week's UN General Assembly in New York. Guterres told AP the U.S.-U.K. deal to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia "is just one small piece of a more complex puzzle ... this completely dysfunctional relationship between China and the United States."