Georgia City Bans New Massage Parlors amid Human Trafficking Crackdown

The Roswell City Council issued a temporary moratorium on Monday to prohibit the city from granting new licenses for massage parlors in the Fulton County suburb located north of Atlanta. The moratorium follows a number of September human trafficking arrests and law enforcement actions at six massage parlors.

The city approved a resolution “instituting a temporary moratorium on new massage establishment licenses and occupational tax certificates” for 90 days “or until the City has properly amended its ordinances regarding massage establishments.”

Prior to making the vote, city lawmakers heard that illicit massage parlor businesses will often rapidly dissolve and reform under different business names in a bid to avoid oversight.

Roswell Police Chief James Conroy said businesses will dissolve and change ownership, and stated that his department will also pursue those who receive illicit services at massage parlors, and massage parlors that conduct some legitimate business in addition to illegal activities.

In September, Roswell police reported the arrests of three people involved with massage parlors they claimed were part of an extensive human trafficking network spread across Atlanta’s metro area, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. The outlet reported that 56-year-old Wei Cheng Huang, 41-year-old Yan Lin, and 36-year-old Lin Chen were arrested, with police identifying them as “principal figures within this trafficking network.” They were reportedly charged with racketeering, sex trafficking, and labor trafficking.

The same investigation saw 70 Roswell police rescue 20 human trafficking victims after serving search warrants at six massage establishments and four private residences, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Conroy called the investigation “one of the largest” of its kind in the region, the outlet quoted, and promised the department “will continue to vigorously pursue those who exploit and victimize others in our community and beyond.”

Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson and the Roswell City Council have announced plans to modify the city’s regulations for massage parlors in January, and Conroy told the city his department is ready to provide its suggestions.

Data indicates that Georgia has the seventh highest rate of human trafficking in the United States, and the average age when victims are first trafficked in Georgia is between 12 and 14 years old.

A gunman attacked three Georgia massage parlors in 2021, killing eight people. The affected massage parlors included two in the Atlanta metro area, and though local media suggested the incidents were motivated by racial animosity against Asians, it was later confirmed the massage parlors were previously busted in prostitution stings, with the latest occurring in 2013.

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Tom Pappert is the lead reporter for The Tennessee Star, and also reports for The Georgia Star News, The Virginia Star, and The Arizona Sun Times. Follow Tom on X/Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].




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