‘Operation Hot Towel’: Chicago cracks down on illegal massage parlors tied to prostitution

CHICAGO -- A four month undercover operation shut down six Chicago massage parlors for prostitution.

Several others were shut down or face steep fines for improper licensing and other code violations.

A total of 11 spas in the city saw were closed.

Last February, working off of tips from the public, Chicago police along with the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department started “Operation: Hot Towel.”

They checked 61 massage businesses for proper licensing and prostitution.  They made multiple arrests, handed out 178 violation tickets, which carry fines well into the thousands of dollars, and issued 11 cease and dissent orders.

South Side Alderman Mike O’Shea is proposing a new ordinance that increases penalties for code and license violations, keeps all sexual areas covered during a massage and changes the age eligible to work at a massage business from 15 to 18.

“It is our hope these reforms will help law enforcement deal with bad operators while make things easier on the good ones,” he said.