COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo, (KRDO) – 13 Investigates has uncovered information revealing that illicit spas are still doing business in Colorado Springs despite new laws aimed at shutting them down.
More than three years ago, 13 Investigates began looking into the more than 39 massage businesses police believed were selling sex.
Since that reporting, it became illegal for certain massage businesses to operate in the City of Colorado Springs without a massage business license as of September 2022.
The city councilman who passed the law said that so far, six massage businesses have been cited for operating without a license.
Additionally, 13 Investigates found that sexual reviews were posted online for several massage businesses in Colorado Springs just this month. A majority of them were approved for massage business licenses after a police background check.
Ichiban Spa on Iowa Avenue, Victory Spa on the 6400 block of N Academy Boulevard, and Bamboo Spa on the 900 block of N Murray Road all possess massage business licenses with the city of Colorado Springs. However, sexual reviews were posted on the website Rubmaps in the past month for each of those businesses.
"We were going to have to have these places shut down. That is what I thought was going to happen," Colorado Springs Councilman Dave Donelson told 13 Investigates. "We always knew people could lie or there could be some that could sneak through the system. The goal of this ordinance was to reduce our police department's workload."
Donelson says police have cited six massage businesses since the ordinance went into effect on Sep 1. The councilman believes more can be done.
"You walk in, and you ask for the license. We haven't done that yet," Donelson said. "We haven't walked into all these places and asked to see the license."
Donelson says staffing shortages, higher priority crimes, and recent leadership changes with Colorado Springs Police are the primary reasons it's taking longer to shut down the spas.
13 Investigates is waiting for the Colorado Springs Police Department to answer questions about the enforcement of this new law.
"If they had no other priorities and we didn't have a fentanyl crisis going on, if cares weren't getting stolen left and right, and if people weren't shooting each other every night. They'd probably knock this out in a couple of days."