The House unanimously passed HB 7005, sponsored by Rep Dave Kerner, placing restrictions on massage establishments in the effort to prevent human trafficking.
Under this measure, massage establishments could not operate between midnight and 5am and could not have employees living on premise — both of which are common factors in trafficking fronts.
Violations of these provisions would constitute a first degree misdemeanor for the first offense; while second or subsequent violations would be a third degree felony. Violators would also be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Massage Therapy.
The Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University found that Florida is the third most popular domestic destination for human traffickers, with sex trafficking the most reported offense. The Center’s 2010 Strategic Plan noted that massage establishment are known to be sites where such activities occur.
But late night muscle-weary travelers, worry not, the rules will not apply to airports, health care clinics, lodging facilities, timeshares or pari-mutuels; or to any massage performed under the prescription of a physician.