Legitimate massage therapists are tired of them and law enforcement officials see them as potential venues for human trafficking.
Now, the Florida Legislature is also flexing its muscle in the fight against the growth of adult-oriented massage establishments, places whose marketing and signage skews closer to adult entertainment than therapeutic well-being.
In South Florida, they’re known for their blacked-out windows, neon signs, late-night hours, and sexually suggestive postings in online classified ads. Many are listed on web sites that cater to the men who seek out erotic massages.
Observers worry that in some of these businesses, victims are being forced to perform sexual acts against their will.
That rationale, based on numerous cases of sexual exploitation in brothels posing as massage establishments across the U.S., is now official in Tallahassee. In the recent session, lawmakers unanimously passed massage-specific legislation viewed by stakeholders as an important step — even if some say the legislation doesn’t go far enough.