Bill Seeks to Target Businesses Engaged in Human Trafficking

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has approved a bill aimed at closing the so-called “bodyworks loophole” that critics say helps businesses act as fronts for human trafficking.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Mark Montigny, would add “bodyworkers,” bodywork therapy and bodywork facilities to the state’s licensing structure overseen by the Division of Professional Licensure. The bill, approved Thursday by the Senate, would restructure the Board of Registration of Massage Therapy to include two bodyworks practitioners and a law enforcement representative specialized in human trafficking.

Under current law, the practice of bodyworks therapy is not licensed, unlike massage therapy.

Attorney General Maura Healey said her office has investigated establishments that purported to offer “bodyworks” or “bodywork therapy” but were fronts for human trafficking operations.

The bill now heads to the House.

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