Combatting Massage Licensing Fraud: How Traffickers Exploit Gaps in Education Oversight

licensing fraud

The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards partnered with The Network, a counter-human trafficking organization, to co-author an article examining massage licensing fraud in education.

State massage licensing regulations seek to provide assurance of common standards of safety, expertise, and professionalism among licensed therapists (LMTs). However, because of the value of LMT licenses, illicit massage industry (IMI) actors work to fraudulently obtain them by cheating on the educational credentials and exams needed to obtain them. IMI associates then use the fraudulently obtained credentials to hide human trafficking and other crimes behind the massage therapy profession. Gaps in regulation, oversight, and communication among state massage therapy boards (MTBs) and state education authorities are exploited by the IMI to operate diploma mills, which offer fake transcripts and certificates. IMI actors then attempt –too often, successfully—to leverage the fake transcripts and test fraud to obtain LMT licenses. More permissive states that do not exercise adequate oversight and regulation over massage education and licensing regimens thus help IMI networks move and expand nationally.

Read more HERE.