Massage Parlors and Human Trafficking

We have all seen news stories from various locations about massage parlors and prostitution but very few people are aware of the serious problem of human trafficking that is occurring at such places.

This is a subject that I am very passionate about, not only because such places give the massage industry a bad name but also because of the often overlooked topic of human trafficking and sex trafficking.

We need more public awareness to the fact that women are being exploited, abused, kept as indentured servants, forced to work countless hours, and perform sexual services. Many of these women do not speak English, many fear going to the police, fear for their lives and the lives of their family members.

In this article from Ohio just last year one such human trafficking ring was exposed:

Some quotes from that article:

The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force announced Wednesday, Jan. 14, that authorities had arrested two people after an investigation into suspected human trafficking.

“We have strong evidence that, at the Powell location, they were sleeping on massage parlor (tables),” Vest said.

He said authorities were attempting to build a rapport with the seven women. He said their countries of origin have not been confirmed.

“Many of them don’t speak English or (speak) very limited English,” he said. “Through the help of our federal partners, we brought in language specialists from literally around the United States.”

The Salvation Army of Central Ohio has offered to help the seven women procure housing and other needs in the aftermath of the investigation.

Vest said the investigation was started after his department received a tip that workers at the Powell massage parlor were sleeping there and engaging in prostitution.

This only one of the many reasons why I caution people to get their massages from reputable, certified, and state regulated massage therapists.

The dark side of the massage industry is that many places just like that massage parlor in Ohio are engaged in the crime of human trafficking as well as other crimes.

Such places are often involved in other illegal activities such as money laundering and drug dealing.

I was pleased to see that the Ohio police treated these women not as prostitutes or sex workers but as victims of a crime themselves, because they are victims and in need of help.

All too often we simply see a headline that reads:

“Massage Parlor workers arrested for prostitution”

And never give much thought to the fact that the owner or owners of the establishment may be exploiting these women. This is a common problem I see too often in the news, the women are arrested but the massage parlor remains in operation to continue its illegal activities.

Please be aware that women all across this country are being victimized every single day while this ongoing problem is quietly ignored by the media.

Please be a part of the solution by helping to bring about awareness of this nationwide problem, and if you suspect a massage parlor in your area of human trafficking do not hesitate to report it.

1 (888) 373-7888
National Human Trafficking Resource Center


Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

Why a Massage Therapist Should Carry Liability Insurance

I know many therapists who believe that the company they work for covers them under their insurance policy, and believe that is good enough; but, a 2015 case in Dallas, Texas, shows us why it is not.

The female claimant had a stroke 11 days after receiving a deep tissue massage at a Massage Envy establishment. She claimed that the deep tissue work on her neck was the cause of the stroke, and is suing the company, the local franchise, and the therapist in her suit.

Believing that the insurance carried by the company for which you work will cover the therapist as well is a big mistake in this industry, and this case is only one example of why.

Insurance companies receive claims for many things that could easily happen to any of us. One such situation was a man who came in with pain in the supraspinatus (a rotator cuff muscle). The therapist had been in the field two years. She did some kneading and squeezing of the muscle which is common in massage. The following day the client went to the ER and discovered his supraspinatus was torn, and sued the therapist. The insurance simply paid the claim; because, lets be honest, how can you prove it was or was not torn before the massage, since the client had not seen a doctor before getting a massage? You can’t.

In another such situation a therapist had a client who complained of finger pain. The therapist did some hand and finger massaging only to later have an insurance claim filed against her because the client had a broken finger.

Never believe that situations like this cannot happen to you, as many of us know some people will come for massage therapy before seeing a doctor. Also as mentioned in my previous post A Few Things You Should Let Your Massage Therapist Know many times the client does not disclose that they have a medical condition that we should be aware of, such as a history of blood clots..

Always protect yourself and your career by having good liability coverage, the cost is minimal compared to what not having it may cost you in the long run. There are many low priced options available but do take some time to find out what they do or do not cover as some do not cover hot stone, some you need to pay extra for out-call coverage, and some only cover one place of employment when many of us have more than one place of practice.

If you have any questions about this or any of my other posts please feel free to ask me.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist