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Human Trafficking Task Force calls for Colorado Springs council to enact illicit spa ordinance


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado is advocating for the Colorado Springs City Council to pass an ordinance regulating massage businesses to fight human trafficking.

Over the weekend, the group held their annual symposium, which focused on the nearly three dozen illicit massage businesses in Colorado Springs first exposed by 13 Investigates in 2019.

The task force asked those who attended to email the Colorado Springs council to ask for an ordinance that would make it harder for illicit spas to operate in the city.

"We've learned about successful efforts to curtail illicit massage businesses in Aurora and Denver. We'd like to see the same here," Jo-Ann O'Neill said. "We encourage you to write and ask for an ordinance regulating massage businesses."

Aurora, Denver, Wheat Ridge, and Commerce City have all adopted local ordinances to get illicit massage businesses out of their communities over the last few years.

The ordinances allow the cities to inspect and license massage businesses.

"We can screen them out and deal with some of the issues that are specific to these businesses that legitimate massage therapy businesses do not do," Aurora tax and licensing manager Trevor Vaughn previously told 13 Investigates.

Aurora's ordinance, which passed in 2018, requires proper state massage licensing, prohibits employees from living inside the spas, and doesn't allow them to advertise sexual services. The city of Aurora was able to shut down all of its illegitimate massage businesses within a year after passing the ordinance.

The Colorado Springs City Council was briefed by police during a work session about the ongoing human trafficking problem back in April.

At that time, the Colorado Springs Police Department said there were as many as 34 massage businesses in Colorado Springs that they believed human trafficking was occurring inside of.

Since then, however, the council has failed to take any action on the issue.

For more information on the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado, click here.

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Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is the Assistant News Director for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.


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