A newly approved ordinance approved by the city of Minneapolis will require massage businesses to be licensed. The law was enacted to support and build upon efforts to combat sex trafficking of juveniles in Minneapolis.
The city of St. Paul and many Twin Cities suburbs already require massage businesses and/or therapists to be licensed, including Bloomington, Chaska, Eagan, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Maple Grove, Lakeville, Minnetonka and, most recently, Chanhassen and Eden Prairie.
The new Minneapolis ordinance requires all massage businesses to now be licensed in Minneapolis, effective July 1. This ordinance will help and support legitimate massage businesses while also providing regulatory tools to prevent sex trafficking in illegitimate enterprises. Under the new ordinance a license fee of $50 will be required for home businesses and/or single operators and an annual license fee of $140 will be required for commercial-based businesses with employees.
The new law is intended to make Minneapolis a safe place to call home for all youth and to prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking of youth and young adults. It also establishes the Minneapolis Coordinating Committee to Prevent Juvenile Sex Trafficking.
“We’ve taken innovative steps in recent years and made some good progress, but sexual trafficking of juveniles still remains a significant issue in Minneapolis and throughout the United States,” said Minneapolis Council Member Elizabeth Glidden. “The city of Minneapolis is an established leader on this issue through the work of the Minneapolis Police Department and other departments and I’m happy that we’re taking additional steps to continue this fight and look forward to working with our many partners in our efforts to end sexual trafficking of juveniles.”
Over the last two years, Minneapolis has used a new approach to combating sex trafficking by viewing juveniles involved in prostitution as victims. With cooperation from such victims, prosecutors are more often able to bring felony charges against the people who traffic those young girls. The City Attorney’s Office also takes a treatment-centered approach to prosecuting prostituted adults, and is working to drive down the demand side of the equation through aggressive prosecuting of “johns.” The city also has conducted training sessions to educate hotel and motel owners and employees to recognize, report and stop sex trafficking.
The Minneapolis Health Department has also trained all staff of its school-based clinics to understand the signs of sex trafficking and partnered with schools to develop and integrate prevention education into the curriculum.
For more information about the City’s efforts to fight sex trafficking visit http://www.minneapolismn.gov/police/crimeprevention/sextrafficking.