Push to Eliminate Human Trafficking from the Massage Profession

Contact: Brian Spano

Communications Manager, Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards

bspano@fsmtb.org / 913.681.0380





(Overland Park, Kan. – February 27, 2019) – Massage therapy is a profession commonly, yet wrongfully, associated with human trafficking. Given the alleged recent events surrounding an Asian day spa and high-profile clients in Florida, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) continues to serve as a leading advocate in addressing the problems of human trafficking in the massage therapy profession.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. It is an illegal practice in which traffickers will use force, fraud, or persuasion to make victims engage in commercial sex acts or services of labor against her or his will.

“We are pleased to see law enforcement allocate resources to curb this type of illicit activity,” said FSMTB Executive Director Dr. Debra Persinger. “Sexually-oriented businesses have no place in the massage therapy profession, and harm tens of thousands licensed massage professionals. There is a long way to go, and FSMTB will continue to do its part to help address human trafficking as it impacts the legitimate massage therapy profession and the consuming public.”

In November 2017, FSMTB created the Human Trafficking Task Force Report to describe the problem and to produce solutions for consideration by its individual Member Boards. The findings and recommendations in the report are the culmination of nearly two years of study, listening, discussion and consensus building.

The Human Trafficking Task Force Report brings to the forefront concerns regarding the prevalence and impact of human trafficking and illicit businesses upon the massage profession, many of which have been brought to the attention of FSMTB and its member jurisdictions. It also seeks to offer solutions for the regulatory community.

“This has been a very serious problem in our profession,” said Dr. Persinger. “The most concerning impact of trafficking on the massage profession is that it endangers therapists and the public.”

For more information about the human trafficking issues that impact the massage profession and what solutions may be applied, view the Human Trafficking Task Force Report.



Established in 2005, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) is an autonomous, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization comprised of state regulatory boards and agencies that regulate the massage therapy profession. All revenue collected by the organization is used to enhance FSMTB programs, maintain and improve the quality of the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) and provide support to FSMTB Member Boards in fulfilling their responsibility of protecting the public. For more information, please visit www.fsmtb.org.