Greenlee takes aim at massage parlors that aren't what they seem to be

He says the goal is to prevent sex trafficking.

Paul Kurtz
June 26, 2018 - 7:13 am
Philadelphia City councilman Bill Greenlee

KYW Newsradio, file

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — When City Council returns from summer recess, one of the issues members will deal with involves illicit massage parlors. City Councilman Bill Greenlee will be conferring with officials from the Department of Licenses and Inspections this summer about a bill he's introduced that would impose stricter regulations on owners of massage parlors. 

A key element of the proposed legislation would require periodic inspections, but Greenlee says getting L&I onboard will be a challenge.

"We know that L&I is sometimes resistant, so we put this bill in, but we know that we're gonna have to work over the summer to try to work out some issues with the city," Greenlee said.

The legislation also restricts operating hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., requires massage parlor operators to register with the city, keep records of services performed, and post their credentials. Greenlee says his goal is to weed out the shady operators who use massage parlors as fronts for sex trafficking.

"Women are being brought over from countries, a lot of them Asian countries, with the pretense of getting real jobs, and then they're put in these establishments," he said.

He emphasizes that he doesn't want to cause problems for legitimate massage therapists. 

A recent report by the anti-trafficking organization Polaris Project found that more than 250 phony massage businesses are operating in Pennsylvania.