Delaware Public Media

New regulations could be coming to Delaware massage parlors

Jan 16, 2017

Owners of illicit massage parlors may be put on notice should the General Assembly pass a new bill it’s considering.

The proposal would create a licensing structure for the currently unregulated industry.

Anyone operating a massage business would have to list the name of someone in charge and that person could only oversee one such establishment at a time.

Should any employee be convicted of prostitution or another crime, the business could lose its license for up to one year.

Rep. Bryon Short (D-Brandywine Hundred) says current nuisance laws aren’t as easy to enforce and they don’t directly target the business owner.

“There is a law on the books, it’s just more challenging, more time consuming, more costly to utilize that statute,” Short said.

Any complaint under the law as it stands is reviewed by Superior Court. A professional Board of Massage and Bodywork would oversee these new regulations.

Short says prostitution arrests at these parlors are up over the past few years, but statistics weren’t immediately available.

“It’s not the best approach for us to focus on arresting the women there. They are often victims themselves, but this legislation is crafted in a way with the intention of going directly after the businesses and shutting the businesses themselves down."

Should it pass, the proposal would go into effect six months after it’s signed.