Massage therapist warns against prostitution fronts - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Massage therapist warns against prostitution fronts

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It can be difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate massage establishment and one used as a front for prostitution. (Source: MGN) It can be difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate massage establishment and one used as a front for prostitution. (Source: MGN)
MADISON, AL (WAFF) -

A prostitution bust at a Madison "massage" business put two women behind bars. It's not the first business of its kind to be linked to the sex trade in the Tennessee Valley, but sources said there are many others still out there.

It's unclear if the Lucky Spa Massage or the people who worked there were licensed. A business license listed with the Alabama Secretary of State could not be found.

Massage therapists and their businesses are required to be licensed in the State of Alabama, but sometimes illegitimate businesses slip through the cracks. The profession is regulated by the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy. The agency requires therapists to provide proof of certification from a nationally accredited school, and have a $1-million personal liability insurance policy.

Massage therapists are required to post their licenses on the wall at their businesses, but a legitimate massage therapist said it's a question of manpower and money when it comes to checking every business, and every therapist for these requirements.

"The Alabama Board of Massage Therapy does employ one inspector for the entire State of Alabama, and he's a part-time employee," said massage therapist Denise Sullivan. "He physically can't get to the entire state of Alabama, but there are rules on the books if enforced would eliminate this."

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate massage establishment and one used as a front for prostitution. Experts said these businesses typically have blacked out windows and keep their doors locked. They often have security cameras installed and operate at odd times of the day and night.

"Whenever a massage business is open seven days a week and open from 10 o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock at night or even later," Sullivan explained. "A lot of these places are open until 1, 2, 3 a.m. That's a total red flag."

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