Tag Archives: Human Trafficking

The Polaris Report vs the FSMTB Report on Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking and Illicit Massage Businesses

A few months ago the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSBM)  put out a task force report on Human Trafficking in illicit massage establishments (IM’s for short), however, there was some controversy within the massage community that some of their proposed solutions included regulations that would impact legitimate massage establishments.

You can read their full report here: https://www.fsmtb.org/media/1606/httf-report-final-web.pdf

The proposed suggestions that concerned various massage agencies include the following statements:

Evaluate the possibilities of a uniform, national accrediting body for massage therapy schools and programs.

Create a work group to study the efficacy of massage establishment regulation and serve as an informational resource for state boards on this subject.

Continue to develop its Massage Therapy Licensing Database (MTLD).

Amend the Model Practice Act to include a representative with a background in human trafficking to the composition of member boards.

Regularly report as much information as possible to the FSMTB Massage Therapy Licensing Database (MTLD) and query MTLD for every applicant and licensee as frequently as necessary for regulatory purposes.

Advocate to ensure its state school oversight mechanism includes programmatic or specialized approval review and a capacity to conduct follow up audits on the performance of massage therapy and/or massage and bodywork schools to ensure each school is meeting standards.

Encourage or require training of their massage board members and staff, in human trafficking, and familiarize themselves with human trafficking initiatives within their jurisdiction, state and federal laws, any current legislation on human trafficking, and other available resources.

Discuss the possibility of implementing massage establishment regulation, after the recommended Federation work group studying the efficacy of massage establishment regulations issues a report.

As you can see the FSMTB’s suggestions contain enacting changes to massage education and regulation in the hopes of stopping a problem that has absolutely nothing to do with legitimate massage establishments and could place an unintended burden upon our industry.

The Associated Body work and Massage Professional and The American Massage Therapy Association responded…

A link to the full response: ABMP & AMTA Response to FSMTB’s Report

The FSMTB is straying far from its mission in this report. It ignores readily available data from law enforcement and implies, wrongly in our opinion, that the massage therapy profession is responsible for ending human trafficking. AMTA and ABMP oppose the premise of the report. We reject both the misinformation it conveys and its perceptions about the responsibilities of the massage therapy profession.

Polaris, “A leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery” has issued its full report…

You can read the full report here: Human Trafficking in Illicit Massage Business

I encourage you to read the full report to get a better understanding of how wide spread this issue is and how the problem with human trafficking does not simply begin and end with the massage establishments but include an entire network  of organized deception and cohesion.

The following is a brief summary of the solutions proposed by Polaris (please read the full report for details on these suggestions.)

SOLUTION: Require transparency in business registration

Supporting Effective, Survivor-Centered Law Enforcement

Adopt an organized-crime approach, shift to increasing pressure on buyers by doing demand stings

Build networks of anti-trafficking law enforcement, code enforcement, and prosecutorial professionals

Closing Loopholes In The Commercial Real Estate Industry

Landlords can take responsibility to ensure human trafficking is not happening on their rental properties, and cities can leverage nuisance abatement laws to address those who do not.

Ending Online Practices That Legitimize Illicit Massage Businesses

Online review and “deal” sites should screen for IMBs

Shifting the Media Narrative to Increase Public Understanding, Decrease Public Tolerance

Media outlets must create policies to protect potential victims, and law enforcement must carefully frame press releases

Working Together to Ensure Victims Receive Robust, Culturally-Competent Services

Nationwide safety net: Key pieces of this coalition safety net include: • Culturally humble, trauma-informed interpreters• Attorneys• Job training

Polaris offers a more inclusive solution

Instead of focusing only on how the massage establishment can enact changes to help regulate IM’s by putting further regulations on the massage industry alone Polaris offers solutions that offer a focus ranging from public awareness, business compliance, a shifting of the media focus, as well as victim support and job training.

There is so much more that I would like to discuss about the Polaris report. Once again I highly encourage you to read the full report.

 

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart aka Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

 

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National Human Trafficking Awareness Day 1/11/2016

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/faqs.html

Which Countries Are Affected By Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking affects every country of the world, as countries of origin, transit or destination – or even a combination of all. Trafficking often occurs from less developed countries to more developed countries, where people are rendered vulnerable to trafficking by virtue of poverty, conflict or other conditions. Most trafficking is national or regional, but there are also notable cases of logn-distance trafficking. Europe is the destination for victims from the widest range of destinations, while victims from Asia are trafficked to the widest range of destinations. The Americas are prominent both as the origin and destination of victims of human trafficking.

Who Are The Victims And Culprits Of Human Trafficking?

Victims of trafficking can be any age, and any gender. However, a disproportionate number of women are involved in human trafficking both as victims and as culprits. Female offenders have a prominent role in human trafficking, particularly where former victims become perpetrators as a means of escaping their own victimisation. Most trafficking is carried out by people whose nationality is the same as that of their victim.

What Types Of Industries Are Involved With Human Trafficking?

Most trafficked forced labour affects people working at the margins of the formal economy, with irregular employment or migration status. The sectors most frequently documented are agriculture or horticulture, construction, garments and textiles under sweatshop conditions, catering and restaurants, domestic work, entertainment and the sex industry.

Human trafficking also affects other quite mainstream economic sectors, including food processing, health care and contract cleaning, mainly in private but also in public sector employment, such as the provision of healthcare services.

https://traffickingresourcecenter.org/report-trafficking

Report Trafficking

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.


If you believe you have information about a potential trafficking situation:

Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888: Call Specialists are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. Interpreters are available.

Submit a tip online through the anonymous online reporting form below. For immediate assistance or to speak directly with an NHTRC Call Specialist, please contact us 24/7 at 1-888-373-7888.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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Massage Parlors and Human Trafficking Part Two

In America we tend to think of sex trafficking and human trafficking as being something that happens in other countries. Slavery and sex trafficking are not simply something that happens in some other country, it is happening right here in our Nation.

In my previous post I showed you one story of human trafficking from Ohio, the following three links with quotes come from California, Texas, and Utah followed by a link from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.

http://www.ocweekly.com/news/is-huntington-beach-teeming-with-sex-slaves-6463029

Overwhelmingly based on our investigations in Huntington Beach and throughout Orange County and Southern California, the women involved in most of these massage parlors are trafficked in,” said the Chief, who explained that many were forced to work six days a week at the coercion of pimps and panderers.

https://news.vice.com/article/massage-parlor-bust-shows-how-houston-has-become-a-hub-for-human-trafficking

Authorities recently arrested four Houston men and charged them with human trafficking crimes for allegedly flying in women from China to live and work in massage parlors where customers were offered sexual services.

Anti-trafficking advocates who work in the city say its proximity to the Mexican border and position on an interstate corridor has contributed to the profusion of sex-focused businesses. According to Micah Bailey, director of operations at the advocacy group Elijah Rising, the city’s sex workers are a mix of young American women and men who have run away from home and fallen in with pimps, Hispanic women who have crossed the border, and Asian women who have been brought to the country through fraudulent employment services.

http://fox13now.com/2015/06/09/utah-massage-parlors-raided-in-human-trafficking-prostitution-crackdown/

Authorities believe the women who work in the parlors are being forced into the sex trade, working to pay off debts after being brought into the United States. Police brought a Chinese translator with them as the women who were questioned spoke little English.

“It is absolutely slavery,” Reyes said. “It is horrible. It’s horrific and perhaps the most concerning thing about it is people don’t realize it’s going on in our state.”

“These victims are going to get a chance to get the resources they need, go home — if home is a safe environment — get counseling because it’s going to take years for them to heal from the horror they’ve been living for who knows how long,” Reyes told FOX 13.

https://traffickingresourcecenter.org/sex-trafficking-venuesindustries/fake-massage-businesses

Who are the victims?

The victims are most often Asian women, of diverse ethnicities and nationalities, including Korean, Thai, Chinese, and ethnically Korean-Chinese citizens. These women may have come to the United States on valid visas, fraudulent visas, or may be undocumented or have been smuggled into the United States. Most victims of sex trafficking in fake massage businesses are adult females. One fake massage business may involve one or two victims or several victims.

When does it become trafficking?

Employers at fake massage businesses use force, fraud, or coercion to exploit women in commercial sex acts. Common means of control used in these types of brothels also include:

Force: Isolation and confinement to the brothel; regular and frequent transportation to other locations or other cities by drivers working for the trafficking network; physical or sexual abuse.

Fraud: False promises of a better life; misrepresentation of the work, working conditions, and immigration benefits of the job; visa fraud.

Coercion: Heavy debts, increased through exorbitant fees for food, personal items, transportation, and “security”; restrictions on communication to family or others outside the network; threats of deportation and arrest; confiscation of passports and visas; rumors of or witnessed violence at the hands of traffickers or police used as threats.

* An individual under the age of 18 engaged in commercial sex is considered a victim of sex trafficking regardless of the presence of force, fraud or coercion. 

Please help by letting others know that massage parlors and “happy endings” are not a laughing matter and that people who make use of such establishments may be contributing to the crime of human trafficking.

If you suspect that a massage parlor in your area is engaging in such practices please do not hesitate to contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at the above link or by phone 1-888-373-7888
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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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: http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/worthington/news/2015/01/20/massage-parlors-raid-third-human-trafficking-suspect-surrenders.html

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

https://traffickingresourcecenter.org/report-trafficking

 

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