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Dozens of massage establishments suspected of being linked to sex trafficking in East Baton Rouge

1 year 1 month 3 weeks ago Friday, April 28 2023 Apr 28, 2023 April 28, 2023 7:20 AM April 28, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Most massage parlors in East Baton Rouge Parish are run by law-abiding owners, but Councilman Rowdy Gaudet says some establishments could be owned by someone suspected of running sex trafficking operations.

According to data Gaudet received from the Governor's Office of Human Trafficking Prevention, several establishments are suspected of being linked to the crime.

"There has been reports for 27 businesses just in East Baton Rouge Parish that have been reported for human trafficking activity," Gaudet told WBRZ.

Because of this, he hopes to pass an ordinance in the Metro Council that would better regulate who could own a massage establishment.

Right now, the ordinance says anyone with a felony would not be able to own a massage parlor, but after talking to other council members, he thought that might be too restrictive. He hopes to amend it to only stop anyone who is convicted of a felony sex crime from owning a massage establishment.

"This has become an industry that unfortunately has gotten a reputation, and so what steps can we take at a local level to help our friends at the state level who are trying to crack down on human trafficking?" Gaudet said. "That's the intent of this ordinance."

The ordinance will be introduced to the Metro Council on May 10. WBRZ asked Gaudet if there are any current owners of massage parlors who have pending charges or prior convictions of sex crimes. Gaudet did not have that information, but is working to get it to us.

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