Illicit Massage Businesses (IMBs) use the cover of a legitimate service to engage in prostitution and often human trafficking by using force, fraud or coercion to compel the women working there to provide sexual services to the buyers who patronize these places. IMBs make the communities they inhabit less safe, and, if not quickly addressed, can grow to become an intractable drain on law enforcement resources.
IMBs are often unlicensed and in violation of numerous local municipal ordinances, state laws and regulations, and federal statutes. Existing state law empowers local law enforcement to enter massage establishments to ensure compliance with the Texas Occupations Code and the Texas Administrative Code. All Texas peace officers can issue citations for infractions of these codes, which can later become grounds for various administrative sanctions, including license denial and revocation.
Our local government and law enforcement manuals describe in detail how to effectively employ these existing statutes and regulations to eradicate IMBs. The law enforcement manual also provides best practices for engaging with the victims trapped in IMBs, including how to interview and work with survivors using victim-centered, trauma-informed methods.