Massage & Bodywork


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 14 of 92

12 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j a n u a r y/ fe b r u a r y 2 0 24 ABMP LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY Legislatures across the country are returning to work in January. In the November/December 2023 issue of Massage & Bodywork ("Policy Issues Facing Massage Therapy in 2024," page 16), I outlined key issues expected across the country—continued momentum for the Interstate Massage Compact, licensing bills in Minnesota and Kansas, and potential changes to licensing requirements (both continuing education and examination). However, I didn't cover the continued focus by legislatures to stop human trafficking and illicit massage. In 2023, many states (and some localities) continued to push for establishment licensure despite most states already requiring occupational licensure. In most cases, ABMP sees establishment licensure as unnecessary and overly burdensome. In some cases though, ABMP supports establishment licensure with some consideration (exempting sole practitioners, in place of occupational licensing in states without it). Human trafficking and illicit sex business are major issues, but hardworking, law-abiding massage professionals should not be punished, nor should lawmakers create policies that inf late the incorrect assumptions about the profession. Instead, lawmakers need to work with the massage industry to help solve these issues that reach far beyond the profession. Human trafficking is a societal issue that can be found in many industries, from marijuana to massage to house cleaning to the illegal drug market. Yet, public policy is routinely introduced that focuses primarily on human trafficking in massage. Take, for example, Ohio House Bill 255 (HB 255), which would create a nontherapeutic massage definition and registration. While the intentions of the bill's sponsors are good, it is highly unlikely the bill would successfully curb illicit sex practices and human trafficking in Ohio. Instead, HB 255 would likely lead to unintended consequences, create public Human Trafficking: A Hot-Button Issue in Massage Policy By Lance Hostetter confusion, and devalue the legitimacy of a massage therapy license. There's also the idea that individuals performing nontherapeutic massage would line up in earnest to receive a registration. Individuals who operate illicit sex businesses typically do not hire licensed massage therapists. In fact, many do not hire employees at all. Work may be forced labor, and "employees" may be the victims of human trafficking. These businesses will likely not allow their employees to sign up as nontherapeutic massage therapists. In these scenarios, businesses may make more of an effort to remain hidden to evade law enforcement.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2024