Jul 19, 2021 - News
Denver adopts massage parlor licensing to combat human trafficking
A sign that says "massage" outside a building
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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