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05/24/2024 01:32 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: May 8, 2023 11:31 AM
From: Representative Joe Webster
To: All House members
Subject: Regulations for Massage Businesses to Prevent Human Trafficking

I will soon introduce legislation that provides statewide regulation of massage businesses that can currently hop from one location to the next when they are discovered.  These new regulations will require a valid facility license, manager’s license and table shower license. If the business fraudulently or deceitfully obtained a license, the license could be suspended or revoked, and the facility would face fines. Additionally, state inspectors and law enforcement officials would have access to review the facility at any time the facility is occupied or open for business. This legislation would also require that services are provided through the Office of Victims’ Services to those who were trafficked, while the traffickers are held legally liable. All assets that are obtained through an illicit massage business would be subject to asset forfeiture.
With 9000 illicit massage businesses in the United States, human trafficking is thriving under the guise of legitimate business activity. Authorities estimate that as many as 100 illicit massage parlors are operating in the city of Philadelphia alone. Many of the individuals who are forced into this form of modern-day slavery are immigrants who have been deceived into believing these businesses offer high wages and non-sex work. Furthermore, the victims are unfamiliar with legal protections available against human trafficking and involuntary servitude, rendering them unable to seek to help. While these victims continue to suffer, these businesses continue to flourish with owners unjustly evading prosecution.
This legislation seeks to establish human trafficking prevention methods in massage businesses, as well as provide better protections to victims of human-trafficking. It is our duty to protect Pennsylvanians and the residents of our Commonwealth, especially those who are vulnerable to exploitation. Please join me in co-sponsoring this vital legislation.

Introduced as HB1241