CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – 15 people got arrested this week in Cumberland County accused of Human Trafficking.
Cumberland County District Attorney Sean McCormack is asking the legislature for help.
“There is really surprisingly little regulation of the massage parlors. The massage therapists themselves are supposed to be licensed. The business does not need to be licensed, currently. The manager of the business doesn’t need to be licensed. And there’s no regulation as to how money is exchanging hands or any of those things,” said McCormack.
House Bill 1241 was introduced in May by Pennsylvania Democratic State Representative Joe Webster of Montgomery County.
The bill would add regulations for massage businesses to prevent human trafficking, requiring a valid facility license and manager’s license.
“What we really need is, we need the ability to be able to go in and do like a health inspection or something like that, to be able to see that what is going on in these massage parlors is legitimate,” said McCormack.
Since the Cumberland County Human Trafficking Task Force started operations in June 2022, they have made 60 arrests, and so far 45 have been prosecuted.
“We want to send a message that if you’re coming to Cumberland County looking to pay for sex, you could be meeting up with a police officer and find yourself in handcuffs by the end of the day,” said McCormack.
McCormack says the reason human traffickers are coming to Cumberland County is because people there are willing to pay.
“And the message that I really want to send is to stop. When you go into one of these massage parlors and speak with the women working there and they don’t even know what town they’re in, what state they’re in, they, they, have no idea where they are,” said McCormack. McCormack says they are getting tips every day and are actively investigating them.