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The City of Orange has strict guidelines for massage parlors with a new ordinance – Orange Leader

The city of Oranje has strict guidelines for massage parlors with a new ordinance

Published at 00:20 on Thursday, April 25, 2024

There is now a regulation for massage parlors in the city of Orange that did not exist before.

Orange City Council members unanimously approved the measure Tuesday night that defines the company, establishes permitting requirements and creates pathways for planned and unexpected inspections.

Local leaders were urged to do so after a recent increase in criminal activity surrounding the businesses, including prostitution and human trafficking.

Local action

Orange police leaders said authorities began receiving tips from Crime Stoppers in August and saw an influx of massage parlor openings.

A multi-agency investigation found that there were massage parlors in Orange County and Jefferson County that were possibly connected, including confirmed sex acts performed by female employees for money.

These employees were also victims of human trafficking, according to the police.

This led to a sting operation in January led by numerous searches in the Golden Triangle.

The following locations were raided:

• Anna Spa (1005 Green Ave. in Orange)

• A1 Massage (2968 North 16th St. in Orange)

• Jade Flower (#11 Strickland Dr. in orange)

• Panda Spa (7014 Highway 87 in orange)

• Star Massage (3515 Mockingbird #C in Pinehurst)

• Rainbow Massage (2070 #B Texas Ave. in Bridge City)

• Sunlight Spa (120 West Bolivar in Vidor)

• Long Long Health Spa (5425 College St. in Beaumont)

Evidence has been found pointing to human trafficking, prostitution and organized criminal activity, police said.

City ordinance

Orange Director of Planning Kelvin Knauf said city leaders looked for help with the ordinance to discourage illegal message settings while respecting legitimate message settings.

“We started researching the laws and working with the prosecutor’s office, the police department and city hall,” he said.

“We have gone as far as we can under state law regulating reporting. Do we want to go further? Probably, but state law doesn’t allow that.”

The new regulation requires every employee in a business that performs massages to be licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Accreditations or licenses from other states will not be accepted.

“That’s an intense process to get a permit from the state,” Knauf said. “They have to follow all kinds of training.”

There are two existing companies within the municipal boundaries of Oranje that must follow the new regulations, which also apply to future business interests.

The ordinance also authorizes city staff to go in and conduct inspections to see if the therapists are licensed.

The ordinance limits operating hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m

Authorities said there had previously been problems setting up 24-hour messages.

“You can’t use the messaging company as a place of residence,” Knauf said. “In human trafficking and prostitution, the people who worked there often lived there.”