It's an effort in Essex Junction to stop sex trafficking.
At an Essex Junction Trustees Meeting Tuesday night, members proposed changes in village land development code aimed at massage parlors. The new regulations would require the facilities to go through a thorough annual permitting process that would closely monitor what's happening inside. The board's president says new regulations are long overdue and are designed to prevent the establishment of illegal parlors in town.
Several Asian massage parlors in Essex Junction and Williston were raided by authorities in the last decade where alleged prostitutes were arrested, but were not prosecuted.
"These enterprises shuffle people around all the time. They are in and out at the dark of night and they are gone. Prosecuting owners, customers is very, very difficult when you don't have witnesses," said Essex Police Chief Brad LaRose.
"The sole purpose of this is to establish regulation for the safe and legal operation of massage establishments and prevent exploitation, sex trafficking, and prostitution in the village," said Essex Junction Trustee Elaine Sopchak.
Other regulations include restricting nighttime operation, preventing doors from being locked in massage rooms and requiring the entrance to be on a public street. The board aims to vote on the proposal within a month.