House approves Kraft bill to identify and shut down illicit massage parlors

House Bill 1082 would require massage therapists and reflexologists to have official photo identification

The state House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday by 17th District State Rep. Vicki Kraft that would make it harder for illicit massage parlors to blend in and operate.

The state House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday by 17th District State Rep. Vicki Kraft that would make it harder for illicit massage parlors to blend in and operate. Photo courtesy of Washington State House Republican Communications
The state House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday by 17th District State Rep. Vicki Kraft that would make it harder for illicit massage parlors to blend in and operate. Photo courtesy of Washington State House Republican Communications

House Bill 1082 would require massage therapists and reflexologists to have official photo identification, such as a driver’s license, on their person or immediately available for inspection when providing services.

Kraft said fly-by-night massage parlors that set up as a front for prostitution are becoming all too common in Washington, giving a bad name to legitimate massage and reflexology establishments.

“There are many doing great work as massage therapists in our communities, and I’m very grateful, because there are long days when we may need those services,” said Kraft, R-Vancouver. “But there are also some bad people who are not who they say they are. On March 7 in Seattle, 11 illegitimate massage parlors were busted and 26 women were freed from a horrendous life of being trapped in sex trafficking. Many of these women are brought overseas with the promise of a better life, only to be enslaved in the sex trade in these parlors.”

Police in Vancouver have told Kraft they’ve walked into some of the illegitimate establishments, only to be stymied by the inability to match certification with legal identification.

“As police have walked into these places, they could hear the certification being printed off on a printer in the backroom,” said Kraft. “This bill would require a driver’s license or other official ID to be carried by the massage or reflexology therapist so that law enforcement can match the certification to the ID.”

Kraft said the measure is supported by the American Massage Therapy Association because it helps to legitimize and protect their businesses, and discourages the sex trade.

The measure passed the House, 94-2. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

Information provided by Washington State House Republican Communications, houserepublicans.wa.gov

       

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