Wisconsin lawmakers have taken action against state-regulated massage parlors when authorities suspect they are being used for human trafficking.
Rep. Joe Sanfelippo tells OneNewsNow lawmakers were advised by law enforcement that illegal activity was taking place in businesses even after police informed the businesses they were being watched.
“But these places, in some instances,” he says, “would just continue to operate and didn't care, or they would just close down an operation and move to a different location and start all over again.”
So state lawmakers, working with law enforcement, crafted a bill that gives municipalities the legal right to pass local ordinances to address the growing problem.
“And then to give the local police,” he adds, “some authority to write the municipal citations in instances where they see problems going on.”
Massage therapists are already licensed by the state but the new law, which was supported by licensed therapists, allows local authorities to take immediate action, including shutting down the business, instead of sending a complaint to the state Dept. of Safety and Professional Services.
Assembly Bill 143 passed with bipartisan support after Rep. Sanfelippo worked with state Sen. Dale Kooyenga to introduce legislation. Gov. Tony Evers signed the bill into law.