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Licensure program for massage businesses aims to reduce human trafficking

New County process also intends to protect legitimate businesses

Posted on April 13, 2023 News and Events



Human trafficking is something you may have heard about on the news. You may have also heard that illicit massage parlors are commonly used by human traffickers. A new ordinance in unincorporated Douglas County aims to reduce this crime with licensing and inspections.

After a formal public hearing Tuesday, April 11, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners voted unanimously to establish business licensure requirements for massage facilities with the sole purpose of preventing human trafficking in Douglas County.

“Unfortunately, illegitimate massage parlors have become a hotbed for human trafficking,” said Commissioner Abe Laydon, Board Chair. “This ordinance is a result of working together with our state and federal legislators, our Douglas County Sheriff, and our District Attorney. Together, we can help protect our community – including our legitimate business owners – by allowing for licensing and inspections.”

While municipal governments have been regulating massage parlors through local business licensing, there has been no provision in state law to allow county governments to do the same for businesses located in unincorporated areas. That changed in 2022 when the Colorado Legislature passed House Bill 1300, allowing counties to regulate massage businesses.

In addition to licenses already required for massage providers, the Douglas County ordinance will:

License applications will be reviewed by the Sheriff’s Office and County staff. The ordinance goes into effect May 20, 2023. At that time, current businesses will be able to visit to begin the licensing process. Read the full ordinance, or watch the public hearing.

Watch this video for a message from local leaders about human trafficking.


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