For a small suburb of Las Vegas, it appears that Henderson has more massage parlors than convenience stores. Massage parlors have been popping up on almost every street and now the Henderson city council is finally paying attention.
The members are expected to vote on a 4-month ban on the opening of any new massage parlors. The city council members say that this moratorium will give the staff time to create new rules to crack down on illegal sexual activity and prostitution, which is now rampant in this industry.
Once the moratorium is in force, no new massage establishments will get a license to operate and caution will be taken to avoid any oversight. The aim of this 120-day moratorium is to stop these parlors from engaging in human trafficking and prostitution, which are now out of control in both Las Vegas and its surrounding suburbs.
Josh Reid, the City attorney claims that the majority of Henderson’s 83 massage parlors are following the law but says that there are a few “rotten apples” that will need to be closed down. He did not mention how he knew which ones were legitimate and which ones were not.
“The end goal here is if — my mom, my dad, my wife — if I send them to a massage place in Henderson, I don’t think they should be concerned they’re going to get propositioned. We don’t want to create a stigma for legitimate establishments.” Reid said.
At the moment, the current enforcement strategies in Las Vegas and adjacent suburbs has focused on issuing misdemeanor citations to only individual workers who have been caught breaking the law, whether for any violation of specific regulation or for prostitution. The problem with this type of enforcement is that it does nothing to the business, which remains open. The worker usually pays a fine and moves on, or is replaced by the establishment or goes to work elsewhere to ply the trade.
Even when the business owner gets into legal trouble, all he or she does is simply transfer the license to someone else and the business never shuts down. The aim of the present council meeting is to put an end to this cycle.
Six years ago, Henderson’s massage rules were updated to crack down on prostitution but at that time the problem was not so severe and again the city did not have adequate tools to go after the bad management. The new rules being established will give the city more legal power to rescind licenses and establish monetary fines that are targeted at the owners of illicit massage parlors. The city council is also looking at enforcing nail salons and spas, which are sometimes an extension of the sex industry.