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AG discusses massage parlor legislation

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Guam Attorney General Alicia Limtiaco and her Massage Therapy and Establishments Task Force met with Speaker Judi Won Pat and Senator Tina Rose Muna-Barnes this morning. At issue was proposed legislation beefing up licensure requirements for those who wish to practice massage therapy on island.

KUAM News went undercover a couple of months ago, exposing some of these establishments where sex was for sale.

While it seems most are turning a blind eye when it comes to prostitution happening inside these 24-hour massage parlor businesses, Limtiaco says legalizing prostitution would have to be a policy decision by the Legislature, and not something that her office is in favor of.  "That would not be a position that law enforcement would support," she said.

Task Force members held their monthly meeting this morning before meeting with a few senators to discuss proposed legislation that deals with the licensure of these obvious brothels, saying, "This is very, very important because it will require that the legitimate professional practice of massage or massage therapy only be legally allowed," she noted.

The Allied Health Board, which plays a huge role in the Task Force, admits that this is the first time any attorney general has shown interest with what's going on behind closed doors at these massage parlors. Both the Guam Police and the Department of Public Health have cited a lack of manpower as their excuse for poor enforcement

Speaker Won Pat also raised major concerns about what's being done to mitigate the issue today, questioning, "Do we want to wait until there's a written complaint? Don't you think that we need to be proactive somehow and who then do we need to look at?", to which Allied Health Board Member Sibyl Crisostomo replied, "Yes, and when we establish our investigators and that's one way to do it proactively, because they would be assigned to do that, but right now we don't have any investigators on the board."

Crisostomo says the Task Force has been working long hours to ensure that they obtain the needed investigators to handle any complaints that may surface.  

Meanwhile, Limtiaco adds that the Human Trafficking Interagency Task Force continues to coordinate their efforts by looking into these massage parlors before looking into human trafficking taking place at other businesses on Guam.  "To make sure that these establishments and these individuals are legitimately practicing and providing a professional service to the community," she said.

The speaker concluded at today's meeting that she just wants the issue resolved before the military buildup begins.

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