HARTFORD -- Nail salons are a common sight in strip malls in almost every town in Connecticut.
But what you might not realize is that some of these businesses are associated with human trafficking. There are 49 other states that regulate the nail salon industry, and Connecticut is the only state in the union that doesn’t.
State law makers in Connecticut are looking to change that.
Jillian Gilchrest, West Hartford State Representative described how she hopes to change this.
“So, we are trying to license nail salons and aesthetics in the state of Connecticut. We are the last state to licensed nail technicians.”
It’s no secret to law enforcement that some of the less reputable salons have attracted human trafficking patterns. Gilchrest has been a champion in efforts to stop human trafficking.
“Having been Connecticut’s chair of the trafficking in persons council, I know firsthand there are a lot of work violations that are occurring in nail salons across the state of Connecticut, where workers are not being paid. So I think this will address working conditions for employees. It will also address the public health concerns we have in the State of Connecticut. We have heard from lots of constituents who have gone to nail salons and ended up with a disease or infection. That’s because we are not regulating this industry.”
Regulation would literally clean up the industry, both in employment violations as well as cleanliness and other public health concerns. Something some customers would welcome.
Sheri Schmieski, a Tolland customer met FOX61 outside her favorite salon.
“I love my salon, and I already feel they are up to code. I think that they’re probably one of the better ones in the area, I don’t think they have any issues. But honestly, I think there are ones, and I’ve been to quite a few before, they have not met that code. I’m happy that they’re finally going to do something about it so that they’re on the same playing field.”
The licensing would be overseen by the Department of Public Health, who already regulate similar services such as Barber Shops, tattoo parlors and massage therapists.
This bi-partisan effort does not yet specify fees, but according to lawmakers, it could generate some income for the state.