Rep. Bacon: Preventing sex trafficking in Indiana

Posted by: Hannah Carlock  | Monday, January 9, 2017 9:30 am

Recently in Indiana, six massage parlors were raided by police and 12 women were taken into custody after being victims of a sex trafficking ring. If the criminals who were breaking the law while operating under the guise of a legitimate business had been required to obtain a license, perhaps this situation could have been prevented.

January is human trafficking prevention month, which sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking. As vice chair of the House Committee on Public Health I am trying to raise awareness about this crime. To prevent other cases where massage parlors conduct illegal business, I am proposing a new law that would set a minimum of standards for safety, cleanliness and medical requirements for massage therapists who would also be required to be licensed.

Currently in Indiana, massage therapists work under a voluntary certification. Under this certification they have to be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma, and have completed a massage therapy program. Since this certification is voluntary, a massage parlor is still allowed to operate without having this training and proper state certification.

After these heinous sex trafficking incidents and through speaking with health professionals, I am bringing legislation forward requiring the licensure of massage therapist and clearly defining what a massage therapist practices with the proper training.

This bill would require at least 500 hours of supervised classroom and hands-on instruction at an approved massage therapy school. I also have defined that massage therapy is a health care service involving the external manipulation or pressure of soft tissue of the skin for the purposes of enhancing health, providing muscle relaxation, increasing range of motion, reducing stress, relieving pain and improving the patient’s circulation.

Thankfully, there have been no incidents of sex trafficking in our area.

As always, please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9833 or by email at h75@iga.in.gov. I appreciate hearing from you in order to better represent our district.

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State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75,
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

A high-resolution photo of Bacon can be downloaded by clicking here.