State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis joined forces to propose legislation that would heavily regulate day spas in an effort to crack down on prostitution and human trafficking. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is reporting that the lawmakers hope the legislation would keep the day spas within the rule of law or risk swift closure.
In July, we reported on a bust coordinated by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and the NYPD that saw the crackdown of 12 massage parlors and day spas and saw the arrest of 19 people across Southern Brooklyn. According to authorities, the operation represented only the “first phase” of the effort to fight illegal prostitution and human trafficking. Malliotakis saw the wide-ranging bust as a need to put tougher laws in place to fight prostitution.
The Eagle described the provisions laid out in the new laws proposed by Golden and Malliotakis:
- Regulates the hours of operation of day spas. The spas would be prohibited from operating between midnight and 5 a.m.
- Allows local authorities to close a day spa when there is a pattern of excessive noise or disturbance to the surrounding community. A pattern is defined as four or more reported instances to police within a six-month period.
- Requires that the day spa be shut down if the owner is convicted of a felony.
- Offers a path to licensing for day spa owners that are unlicensed. Owners would be given up to one month after they are notified by authorities to apply for the proper license. Owners would have one year to obtain the license.
Malliotakis reiterated her call for an increased crackdown and alluded to the horrors of human trafficking:
“The arrests that have already been made show just how badly New York’s laws need to be tightened in order to rid our communities of this criminal activity,” Malliotakis said…
Malliotakis said the allegedly illicit activity going on in many day spas also opens up the ugly specter of human sex trafficking. There are suspicions that many of the young women working in the raided day spas have been smuggled into the US and are being forced into prostitution, she said. The legislation she and Golden drafted would “help women who are forced to be in prostitution,” Malliotakis said.
A report in the Epoch Times further elaborated on Malliotakis’s and Golden’s efforts to fight human trafficking:
Malliotakis said many of the people arrested in the July bust, were not U.S. citizens, and many did not have legal status. She said human trafficking is a serious problem in New York, often affecting immigrant populations.
“They are often threatened with deportation. They are also frequently promised a better job, or a better life, and so they are sucked into this trade,” she said.
Golden said New York State does not deport women for prostitution, and non-profit organizations often help women charged with prostitution gain asylum in the U.S.
Golden plans to have the new legislation introduced in January when the new state legislature session begins.
“This is state legislation. We expect to get it passed,” Golden told the Daily Eagle.