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News / Nation & World

Florida prosecutors take aim at illegal massage parlors to stop human trafficking

By Rafael Olmeda, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Published: May 12, 2024, 6:00am

FORD LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Broward State Attorney’s Office is taking aim at human trafficking by uniting businesses, landlord and law enforcement against illegal massage parlors that not-so-secretly offer more than back rubs to their clients.

State Attorney Harold F. Pryor is calling it the Stop Abuse, Fight Exploitation (or S.A.F.E.) Initiative and said its goals are preventing victim recruitment, closing illegal businesses and disrupting profit.

“The S.A.F.E. Initiative is an effective way to help landlords, local government, and businesses to recognize, report, or evict illicit businesses that are engaging in human trafficking,” Pryor said in a statement released by his office Tuesday. “If we work together, we can shine a light on those who seek to harm vulnerable people and we can shut down this evil exploitation.”

Illegal massage parlors don’t exactly hide, but to the unaware, they can go unnoticed. They look like low-budget massage parlors, located in shopping plazas and strip malls right next door to convenience stores, day-care centers, music schools and small restaurants.

The S.A.F.E. program seeks partnerships with landlords, local government and law enforcement to identify the illegal businesses and make it difficult for them to continue to operate in Broward County.

For more information or to report suspected illicit massage businesses, please email safeinitiative@browardsao.com or call the Broward State Attorney’s Office hotline at 954-831-7487.