AURORA, Colo. -- The City of Aurora has taken action against illicit massage parlors selling sex fronted as therapy in the wake of several Denver7 reports of sexual misconduct that surfaced at the beginning of this year.
City officials passed an ordinance that requires spa owners to notify police about employees accused of sexual misconduct, something that isn't required by state law.
The city shut down 17 illicit spas in just the last year, after Denver7 first broke the story of widespread misconduct at local spas.
"It's a big issue. It's a national issue, it's a community issue, it's a city issue," said Aurora Councilwoman at-large Angela Lawson. "I think by us addressing the issue we have saved women."
Councilwoman Lawson pushed the city to take action after her own personal experience at a sketchy spa near her hair salon.
"I would go outside and there would be men kind of waiting or just kind of looking at you," she told Denver7.
Under the new law, massage owners now have to go through a screening process to get a license in Aurora — similar to a liquor license. The city is also targeting ads that were all over the internet, and actually used them as evidence to revoke a parlor's license, along with other tell-tale trafficking signs like late night hours or people living there.
"It was pretty overwhelming when we'd look and see the reviews for sexual services," said Trevor Vaughn, manager of Tax and Licensing.
The problem of sexual misconduct at massage parlors is now getting other cities to follow suit.
"We could be somewhat of a model," said Lawson. "For people to be exploited like that, I don't see how anyone could say 'that's not an issue for our communities and for our state and for our world.'"