Florida state authorities issued an emergency suspension of 81 massage therapists’ licenses, all fraudulently obtained with the help of a Florida massage school employee.
The emergency suspensions are one way to “chip away” at a larger problem of human trafficking, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. Though authorities say they do not know if these 81 people are victims or perpetrators of human trafficking, it is clear they are not operating legally, Gualtieri said. Authorities believe human traffickers at massage parlors often operate under a valid Florida massage license, making it harder for law enforcement to investigate the business and discover the victims inside.
The person inside the Florida massage school who was issuing the transcripts has been fired, said Florida Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong. Authorities declined to say whether criminal charges could follow.
Learn more at Jessica Vander Velde’s Tampa Bay Times article: Florida suspends 81 massage therapists’ licenses.