The (Illegal) Business of Massage: FSMTB Report

By Editorial Staff
2017-11-14

The (Illegal) Business of Massage: FSMTB Report

By Editorial Staff
2017-11-14

The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) has released a Human Trafficking Task Force Report that "calls attention to concerns regarding the prevalence and impact of human trafficking and illicit businesses upon the massage profession ... [and] seeks to offer solutions for the regulatory community." Here are key findings per the report's executive summary:

"Research shows that as many as 6,500 illicit (massage) businesses are active in the [U.S.] Less conservatively, it is estimated that up to 9,000 illicit (massage) businesses may be active. Research also shows that in each year from 2012 through 2016, the 'commercial-front brothel' was one of the top two venues for sex trafficking."

"Trafficking costs, monetary and otherwise, are significant for professionals and consumers."

"Human trafficking is linked with fraud in [both] massage therapist education and in the licensing pathways."

"Innovative law enforcement interventions and municipal code changes that focus on IMBs [illicit massage businesses] and their operatives are emerging."

The executive summary also includes recommendations for the board and state credentialing entities to consider, such as national and local awareness campaigns; researching methods to improve massage school evaluation, such as a national accreditation standard and state-based review; increasing reporting of credentialing-based data to a national clearinghouse (such as the Massage Therapy Licensing Database); creating a task force to evaluate massage business licensing; and improving relationships with stakeholders such as law enforcement agencies, nonprofit organizations, community-service agencies and others to help find solutions.

Click here to read the entire FSMTB report.