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Industry expert: deregulation fuels human trafficking, prostitution in Arizona massage industry

By Piper Hansen | Arizona Capitol Times  

A 2019 bill allowed Arizona to “unwittingly” inherit a human trafficking and prostitution epidemic within the massage therapy industry, the leader of a national massage therapy organization said Friday. 

The bill, HB2569, says that any occupational or professional license from another state is valid in Arizona as long as the person with the license is in “good standing” and has no pending investigations into unprofessional conduct in other states.

“The problem is that Arizona isn’t able to apply its typical standards,” Debra Persinger, Executive Director of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards said at a presentation to the State Board of Massage Therapy. 

“It is now forced by law, by the new legislation, to accept [massage therapy] credentials from other states. And because massage therapy regulation is not uniform across the United States, Arizona, by default, I’m sure it wasn’t the intention of the Legislature, inherits the weakest link states,” Persinger said.

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