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Fla. Lawmakers Aim To Crack Down On Illegal Massage Parlors

A bill that would crack down on illegally-operated massage parlors passed unanimously in a House committee Wednesday. A group of Florida lawmakers hope the measure will stop those kinds of places from engaging in prostitution and human trafficking.

Democratic Representative Dave Kerner says he’s heard from law enforcement officers and prosecutors that most prostitution and trafficking activities occur at night, so the bill has measures in place to combat that.

“It makes it a first degree misdemeanor to operate a massage establishment between the hours of 10 and 6 a.m. And, a person operating the massage establishment, it restricts them to use or permit such an establishments to be used as a ‘principle domicile.’ In other words, it will not allow workers to live in these establishments, unless it is an establishment zoned for residential use,” said Kerner.

There are some exceptions, like licensed professionals conducting massages late into the night at a hospice, a hospital or other places, like a hotel, motel, or inn. The bill is sponsored by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, which passed the measure on a 13-0 vote.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.