AMES – Massage parlors pop up around Iowa everyday. But what goes on inside some of them isn’t legal. So massage therapists in Ames are asking city leaders to help combat that with an ordinance.
Legal and licensed massage therapists in Ames want this ordinance created and passed to give the Ames Police Department more ability to go into some of these massage parlors, and if they don’t have a license, cease their operations.
“Anybody is vulnerable on our table.” Michelle Demarie, a licensed massage therapist, is sickened others would take advantage of that vulnerability. “I had no idea that this beloved career would be used for something so ugly like trafficking and it truly is evil.”
Demarie says these illegal parlors are ruining their credibility. “We want to not only protect the integrity of our profession but also help combat the trafficking that as we know is a huge problem.” She’s really over it. “It is infuriating to me, it feels like a direct attack on such a beautiful profession.”
So she and other massage therapists in the area took their concerns to the city council. “We noticed that it took several, several months in a lot of cases from the time a complaint was filed until action was taken.”
Asking for an ordinance to help regulate illegal activity at the local level because as of now, the Ames Police Department’s hands are pretty tied. “It wouldn’t be their business so to speak to walk in and ask for a license because that is done at the state level.”
Their concerns were heard. They hope this will be the start to a change for the better. “I believe council is going to follow through with adopting an ordinance. How expensive it is is yet to be determined.”
Demarie says “we want to not only alleviate these businesses from out community but also put something in place to help the victims.”
Other cities across Iowa already have an ordinance like this in place. Des Moines, Johnston and Pleasant Hill have this, just to name a few.