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New Port Richey officials to crack down on prostitution with bathhouse ban

Posted: 11:16 PM, Jan 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-22 23:16:52-05
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NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — New Port Richey officials have passed a new ordinance banning bathhouses, also known as massage parlors investigators believe are fronts for prostitution.

Police Chief Kim Bogart supports the measure, saying it will allow local officials to better regulate massage spas.

“We will zero in on them and we will arrest them," said Bogart.

Chief Bogart gave ABC Action News an exclusive look inside two New Port Richey massage spas recently shut down because of prostitution.

Pictures taken after the three-month undercover investigation lead detectives to believe employees of Miyako Spa and Kimura Spa, both located along U.S. Highway 19, were living inside the businesses.

"This room was lived in daily, constantly, every day and this is what that person was sleeping on," said Bogart reviewing a picture from inside one of the spas.

City council members recently passed the bathhouse ordinance, which outlines specifically what is banned in massage parlors.

Chief Bogart believes it will help crackdown on sex acts and hopefully identify potential victims of human trafficking.

"People who are trapped in this cycle where they can’t seem to get out of it, I want them to come to us, let us help them,” she said.