Raises awareness of human trafficking in massage profession

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois (April 21, 2011) – The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) announced it is increasing its efforts to combat fraudulent and illegitimate schools in the massage profession through its national School Compliance Program. The nonprofit organization is also raising awareness of human trafficking and organized prostitution through an informational outreach effort.

NCBTMB’s recently established school compliance department works to identify and investigate institutions that give the appearance of operating in an illegitimate or fraudulent manner. The department conducts in-depth research when it finds inconsistencies and abnormalities in information submitted by schools, such as transcripts and attendance records or falsification of certificates and diplomas. The outcome of these investigations can result in NCB imposing sanctions, which prohibit an illegitimate school’s graduates from sitting for the National Certification Exams. NCBTMB then shares this information with state regulatory boards and local law enforcement agencies upon request, and posts it on its website at www.ncbtmb.org.

“For nearly 20 years, National Certification has represented high standards of excellence in the massage industry,” said Paul Lindamood, CEO of NCBTMB. “So we believe it is our responsibility to help ensure the integrity of the profession and protect consumers. One way we can do this is by using all possible means to ensure that only legitimate graduates sit for the National Certification Exams.”

He went on to say, “When we began to spot the emergence of false and misleading information from schools applying for our assigned school code, we recognized the need for tighter eligibility and school compliance procedures. By ferreting out illegitimate institutions and students, we not only protect the credibility of the national certification credential, but we also can share this information with states. Ultimately, this helps legitimate schools by protecting their reputations and the quality standards they uphold.”

The work of the School Compliance Program has also revealed signs of the magnitude of human trafficking within the massage industry. In response, NCBTMB has chosen to support Polaris Project, one of the largest organizations combating human trafficking in the U.S. This nonprofit group works with victims, providing outreach, social services and transitional housing.

To help spread the word on trafficking, NCBTMB has begun broad scale distribution of its Human Trafficking–What You Need to Know brochure, produced in partnership with Polaris Project. Click here to see the brochure or order copies.

“Polaris Project has greatly enjoyed our collaboration with NCBTMB on this important anti-trafficking work,” said Bradley Myles, executive director and CEO of Polaris Project. “By reaching out to state massage licensing boards, nationally certified massage therapists and massage schools and students, I believe this targeted anti-trafficking initiative will reach an unprecedented number of stakeholders who all play a critical role in helping to stamp out human trafficking.”

Working together, NCBTMB and Polaris Project hope to raise awareness to help eliminate human trafficking from the massage therapy profession, to safeguard and protect both therapists and consumers.

About the NCBTMB

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) was established in 1992 as an independent, nonprofit organization fostering the highest standards of ethical and professional practice in the delivery of therapeutic massage and bodywork through two recognized credentialing programs. NCBTMB examinations are currently accepted or recognized in statute or rule by 38 states plus the District of Columbia. There are nearly 90,000 professionals with NCBTMB certification. NCBTMB’s certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.