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Duluth’s proposed massage facility restrictions drawing mixed reaction

DULUTH, MN–As the Duluth City Council considers tighter restrictions on the city’s massage facilities, local licensed massage therapists have mixed reactions.

In its current draft, the city’s proposal includes updated requirements such as national background checks, restricted hours, and even a limited number of entrances into the building.

According to the ordinance, its goal is to “protect against illegal prostitution and sex trafficking.”

In March, two people were charged in connection with alleged sex trafficking at three Twin Ports massage parlors.

Marcy Kernez, president and director of Eagles Nest Massage Therapy, has been practicing in the Duluth area for 30 years.

“That’s what everyone wants, is to have things in place that keeps everyone safe and allows law enforcement to do the job they need to do,” Kernez said.

In a letter to the Duluth City Council, Cookie Killian, who identified theirself as a massage therapist who is licensed in Duluth and runs a private practice in Hermantown, had a number of concerns, including limiting the hours allowed to practice.

“As a sole proprietor, I enjoy the privilege of making my own hours. I take pride in the fact that I can serve my clients before and after their work days,” Killian wrote. “If you start dictating when I can open and when I close, you are also dictating whether or not some of these people receive treatment, and you are dictating my income.

The Duluth City Council is set to read-in the ordinance for the first time on Monday. They could vote as early as next month.

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Briggs LeSavage

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