Fearing that a slew of newly opened day spas are engaging in illegal prostitution practices, local lawmakers are seeking to tighten licensing requirements for the businesses as well as expand police investigation into alleged sex trafficking possibilities. According to a Brooklyn Daily Eagle report, the emergence of the day spas has caused alarm among local residents.
State Senator Marty Golden told the Daily Eagle that he would like to see increased licensing across the board to weed out any illegitimate employees.
“The licensing process should be not just for the location, but for the individual. If you go to get your hair done, the person cutting your hair has been certified by the city of New York to perform that job. You can see the license on the wall. I don’t know if the person giving you a massage in one of these places has a license,” Golden said.
While Golden has concerned himself with day spas that have opened in Bay Ridge, Golden added that the problem extends to other neighborhoods as well. Many such spa and massage locations exist in Bensonhurst, along 86th Street and 18th Avenue.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis expressed disgust at the potential illegal activity as well as the impact that the presence of this crime has on the community as a whole.
“The evidence of similar massage parlors acting as a front for vile and harmful behavior is too strong,” Malliotakis told the Daily Eagle. “On a broader scale, I worry for our community and the negative impact that this type of activity can generate.”
Councilman Vincent Gentile promised that action is underway and that authorities will soon get to the truth of that matter.
“I remain in close touch with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and other law enforcement agencies with regard to massage parlors in our area. However, I must be careful not to jeopardize an ongoing investigation. There is a lot going on behind the scenes and this remains a high priority of mine,” Gentile said.
Despite the extra focus on the day spas, experts noted that proving illegal activity is very difficult as most of the evidence is circumstantial in nature.