PITTSBURGH (KDKA-TV/NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) - Pittsburgh City Councilman Doug Shields plans to unveil legislation that could curb illicit sexual practices in Pittsburgh.
Shields' bill would require all massage parlors and employees to be licensed.
"This basically human trafficking is going on under our noses in the city of Pittsburgh, in Allegheny County and certainly throughout Western Pennsylvania," he said. "It's a horrible story."
Researchers have found that at least 15 in the city of Pittsburgh and at least nine massage parlors outside the city are fronts for prostitution.
Shields says licensing will allow city agents inside the business without a search warrant and that may be the first step in getting rid of an illegitimate massage parlor.
The Project To End Human Trafficking says prostitution is not a victimless crime, adding that many women working in illegitimate massage parlors are sex slaves who thought they were being brought to America for legitimate jobs.
They want the public's help in identifying illegal massage parlors, looking for things such as late hours, massage rooms inside that feature credit card logos and surveillance cameras.
"Would a legitimate masseuse want to be stared at through the security camera? Would a legitimate masseuse want to have locks on all the doors so she can't get out if somebody starts behaving badly?" asked Jessica Dickinson Goodman, a human trafficking researcher said. "It's those kind of signs that nosy neighbors, that people who are going in for a legitimate massage can report."
Meantime, KDKA Radio's Mike Pintek talked with Jamie Turek of the Project to End Human Trafficking about the proposal how the human sex trafficking compares to drug trafficking.
Pintek thinks legalizing prostitution would help in curtailing the human trafficking issue.
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