COLORADO SPRINGS — The City of Colorado Springs is cracking down on illicit massage parlors.
According to a presentation to City Council, Colorado Springs Police believe there are about 30 illicit massage parlors operating in the city and selling sex acts for money.
On Tuesday, City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance requiring any massage business within city limits to be licensed through the city.
"I don't know anyone in the massage industry that isn't frustrated and annoyed by these places that use our legitimate healthcare business as a front for illegal activity," said CJ Brazee, a medical massage therapist and Owner of Mountaineer Medical Massage in Colorado Springs.
The new regulation is an effort to eliminate illegal massage parlors from the city. If a massage business is not licensed, the police have the right to inspect the business during reasonable hours of operation.
"I'll bet you $100 today that 6 month maybe... Hopefully less, 3 months, 2 months, after this ordinance passes, these illicit massage parlors will be gone from the city of Colorado Springs," said Dave Donelson, one City Councilmember who helped push the ordinance through.
However, some legitimate massage therapists like Brazee raised concerns to City Council.
"There's concerns there that we're going to lose some of our patient -privacy and some of our autonomy as healthcare workers... That's a scary place to have someone coming and saying - Well I'm inspecting this business, while you are already in a vulnerable position as a client."
Donelson assures patient-privact will not be an issue for massage businesses that are licensed.
"(The police) might ask can you please show us around. They're not going to go in rooms unaccompanied, they're not going to go into rooms... They're not going to burst into rooms."
City Council did make some adjustments to the ordinance after engaging in discussion with licensed massage therapists.
"They were receptive, they were really good about communicating. I was honestly really impressed at how gracious they were and how accepting they were of feedback," said Brazee.
Massage businesses have until July 1 to get their license from the city.
On September 1 the ordinance will take effect and police will be allowed to inspect any massage businesses that are not licensed.
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