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Monday, July 5, 2010 - 9:41am

New Massage Law Targets Problems

People in Macon are looking to one new state law to help them curb prostitution and suspected human trafficking.

For years Macon has been known as the capital of so-called Asian Massage Parlors in Georgia. Billboards on I-75 beckon drivers to stop at these establishments. Despite raids by police and arrests for prostitution the spas have flourished.

Anti-human trafficking groups and city officials pushed for the new state law which increases fines for unlicensed massage providers and clarifies municipalities can pass their own laws. Andrew Silver with the anti-trafficking group Mid Georgia ALERT says a lack of laws made Macon a hub for Asian Spas.

“We had an out sized problem with this criminal industry moving into Macon because we essentially didn’t have any coverage at all and the traffickers knew that.”

Macon and Bibb County’s own ordinances go into effect this summer and impose even tighter restrictions on the spas.