BILLINGS - The Billings City Council is trying to navigate the issue of illicit businesses masquerading as massage parlors within city limits.
Council members spent hours going over a proposed business license ordinance that would better regulate massage facilities.
They took public comment and heard from the FBI. One agent, offering testimony during the hearing shared what he has seen published in larger cities recruiting women to the Billings are.
"They are coming to Billings because they are reading in a magazine that law enforcement doesn't care and that they can come here and they don't have to have legal papers, which would also include they don't have to have a message license," FBI, Special Agent Brandon Walter said.
Two high profile businesses by the names King Spa and A Spa were shut down in Billings in late 2018 following a federal raid.
The owner and operator of those businesses was charged and eventually pleaded guilty to transporting a person across state lines to engage in sex acts.
Concern was raised during the meeting on how some language in the ordinance would impact legit business owners.
Still, the council voted nine to two to bring the ordinance forward in a future council meeting for a first reading. Amendments could be made at that time.