Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt says 17 illicit massage businesses across the state have now been officially closed and evicted through the Hope Initiative, designed to combat human trafficking.
One of those is in the Branson area.
Six were located in the Kansas City area, three in the Lee’s Summit/Blue Springs area, five in the St. Louis area, and three in or near Columbia.
In addition, 16 more businesses either have evictions pending or likely.
“Human trafficking is a global scourge that affects millions every year, including right here in Missouri,” Schmitt said. “Earlier this year, I launched the Hope Initiative to crack down on illicit massage businesses in Missouri. Since then, my office has been working diligently to continue their outreach to landlords to evict illicit massage businesses and identify additional illicit massage businesses. With this initiative, we want to make Missouri the most inhospitable state in the country to those who seek to operate illicit massage businesses or engage in human trafficking.”
The Hope Initiative, which was announced back in October, is a three-phase, continuing effort to evict illicit massage businesses that are advertising on websites like Backpage, CityXGuide, Rubmaps, and more.