The way it stands now, anybody could come into the city of Brooklyn Park and operate a massage therapy business without a license or an education requirement.
Police, however, say that having regulations in place could help prevent prostitution at these businesses.
"It is very difficult to prove a criminal case in these types of situations," said Inspector Todd Milburn of the Brooklyn Park Police Department. "So if we have violations that occur along those lines, [regulations] will give us a little more power and control to suspend or revoke and make corrections that we would need to moving forward."
The push for regulations began after a sting operation took place at Super Spa, 6280 Boone Ave. N., in Brooklyn Park.
The criminal complaint states that the property manager found Super Spa featured on various websites for escorts and prostitution services. A Brooklyn Park police officer then went undercover, and one of the massage therapists, Ah May R. Lee, 35, allegedly used her hand to perform a sexual act on the officer during the massage. She was charged with gross misdemeanor prostitution.
Now, city officials are working to draft an ordinance to regulate massage parlors.
"The ordinance that we would draft would provide some standards to the therapists themselves as far as accreditation, schooling, training, and background checks," said Jason Newby, code enforcement and public health supervisor for the city of Brooklyn Park.
Newby says the city has reached out to the various massage businesses in the city and they plan to meet with them over the next couple weeks to determine what sort of regulations and fees would be appropriate.
They hope to have an ordinance drafted to present to the city council sometime next month.
Delane Cleveland, reporting
October 12, 2012