Howard County – You’ve Made the Massage Problem Worse By Your Confusion

The previous post discussed HB 671 regarding massage establishments. Executive Kittleman and the Police Department believe that dealing with illegal activity at massage establishments is a major priority; Kittleman included it in his State of the County Address. If so why is this all the the December 2014 Howard County Human Trafficking Task Force had to say about massage? A computer search turns up just these two passing references–not even a full sentence was devoted to an exclusive discussion in the report.


Though far less attention is paid throughout the state to labor trafficking as opposed to sex trafficking, Howard County is ripe for this type of abuse as well. In Columbia and Ellicott City, there are numerous spa, massage parlor, and nail salon businesses that frequently draw the attention of County law enforcement as possible sites of both labor and sex trafficking. Agricultural businesses throughout the county are also plentiful, with 39 registered farms of varying sizes in Howard County alone.




Signs that appear when commercial establishments are holding people against their will: ‐  Establishments that exploit victims of sex trafficking often operate under the guise of:

o Brothels, strip clubs, and pornography production houses

o Massage spas

o Adult bookstores


Because Howard County has decided that they cannot deal with the illegal activity, it probably encourages more illegal massage establishments because they know that the police will do nothing.


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