FALLS TOWNSHIP >> With an eye on public safety, the Falls Township Board of Supervisors has introduced an ordinance that, if enacted, would crack down on human trafficking operations.
During its May 17 virtual meeting, the board voted unanimously to authorize advertisement of a proposed ordinance for massage establishments. If adopted, the regulation would require that all massage establishments and alternative therapy establishments obtain an annual license to operate legally.
In addition, guidelines of the ordinance as drafted require that all massage therapists be licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Copies of state licenses must be submitted along with the license application. Alternative therapy technicians must all be licensed by Falls Township. Proof of education, training or certification of graduation is required for all alternative therapy applicants.
Township attorney Lauren Gallagher said the proposed ordinance is modeled after similar regulations enacted locally.
“What this is about is human trafficking,” Police Chief Nelson Whitney told the board, adding that the adopted ordinance would “allow us to discourage businesses to engage in human trafficking and allows us to detect it.”
Falls police have “made cases” with massage businesses in the past, he said.
“This is something clearly we don’t want in Falls Township,” the chief said.
Supervisor John Palmer suggested that perhaps additional measures could be taken.
“Why does it end with massage?” Palmer asked. “Why not restaurants and retail?”
According to Whitney, the ordinance, as drafted, is “keeping pace” with similar efforts in Bucks County.