COLUMBUS – State Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) today announced her legislation revising Ohio’s massage therapy law has been approved by the Ohio House.
The bill closes a loophole in Ohio law that permits non-licensed individuals to perform massage, as long as they do not specifically call it “massage therapy” or advertise their practices as “medical” or “therapeutic massage.” These non-licensed individuals do not have to meet the educational and safety requirements prescribed by the State Medical Board.
House Bill 374 will also assist in the prevention of human trafficking and prostitution throughout Ohio. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, illicit massage and spa businesses are the number one venue for sex trafficking in America.
“Non-licensed individuals take advantage of the current loophole and open establishments that serve as fronts for human trafficking and prostitution,” said Manchester, who sponsored the bill. “Last year alone, nearly two dozen illicit massage parlors were closed down.”
In addition, the bill ensures the Board will be able to refer bad actors and their establishments to local law enforcement, allowing them to root out those who are taking advantage of the massage profession for illegal activities.
“This bill will preserve the integrity of the massage therapy profession and protect vulnerable individuals from being taken advantage of in illegal establishments,” added Manchester.
The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.