Craigslist Applauded by AMTA: MT safety & professionalism improved

Craigslist home page imageToday, the AMTA released to its members a bit of good news for the interest and safety of practitioners in the massage industry: Starting in Illinois, and assuming it changes in other states in the future, the ‘erotic’ posting section is being removed by the Craigslist company on their site. The AMTA is strongly discouraging an alternately suggested ‘adult’ section, but basically applauds Craigslist effort to minimize delineating, illicit, and illegal massage advertising in the majority of the states in the U.S. by posters who are not legally able to provide the services or identities they assume through the current posting place on Craigslist.

Here’s the email: (Leave your comment here after you read it!)

For many years AMTA has sought means to clean up massage listings on Craigslist and protect both the public and massage therapists who advertise legitimately on the service. Previous direct efforts with the company have had little effect. Meanwhile, AMTA has continued to cooperate with law enforcement officials in their efforts to control ads on Craigslist. Yesterday, it was announced that Craigslist will drop its ‘erotic services’ section in the state of Illinois and this appears to indicate an overall change by the company in other states.
AMTA has issued the following press release expressing its view of the decision and calls for Craigslist and others to respect the massage therapy profession and protect the professionalism and safety of massage therapists. AMTA President, Judy Stahl has already been interviewed by news media and we are convinced that our view will receive media attention.
AMTA encourages members to look at listings in the ‘therapeutic’ section of Craigslist in their area for ads that use the word massage and promote something other than legitimate massage therapy. You can flag such ads as inappropriate. Several flags of an ad usually result in the ad being removed.
Your association will continue its efforts, and its contacts with law enforcement officials, to restrict massage therapy advertising to legitimate massage therapists and protect the safety of practitioners.

For Immediate Release
May 13, 2009
AMTA Applauds Craigslist Decision
Calls for Protection of Massage Therapists
Evanston, IL – The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) views the decision by Craigslist to remove its ‘erotic services’ section as an opportunity to clarify for the public that prostitutes who claim to provide massage are not massage therapists. “The public and massage therapists have a right to know that advertising for massage should only be the right of massage therapists,” says Judy Stahl, AMTA President. “We hope this decision will ensure that massage is only advertised on Craigslist through its ‘therapeutic’ section and that any new ‘adult’ section will not allow posters to use terms related to massage therapy.” Most states regulate the massage therapy profession and restrict use of the term ‘massage’ in business and advertising to legally practicing massage therapists.
The recent publicity surrounding the murder of a call girl who called herself a masseuse on Craigslist has confused many people. Massage therapists have had clients and patients question their professionalism and raise concerns about them advertising their massage practices through Craigslist.
Unfortunately, prostitutes frequently claim to offer massage and use the term ‘masseuse’ to appear as legitimate therapists. While most massage practitioners prefer the term massage therapist, some still use the older term, rooted in European health traditions, of ‘masseuse’.
AMTA believes these terms related to massage should only be used by those with a legal and professional right to do so. The non-profit professional association wants the public to feel confident that anyone who claims to provide massage is a trained professional who practices legally. “We call on Craigslist, the media and other online services to respect massage therapists and to protect the public from misrepresentations of massage. And, we continue our support for the efforts of the state attorneys general to protect the public from inappropriate advertising,” says Stahl.
The American Massage Therapy Association is a nonprofit professional association of more than 58,000 members founded in 1943. AMTA professional members have demonstrated a level of skill and knowledge through education and/or testing and must meet continuing education requirements to retain membership. AMTA provides information about massage therapy to the public and works to improve the professional climate for massage therapists. It advocates fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states.

As prostitutes turn to Craigslist, Nassau County law takes notice (NY Times story, Sep 4, 2007)

As prostitutes turn to Craigslist, Nassau County law takes notice (NY Times story, Sep 4, 2007)

Please: exercise your rights as a member of the Public to flag inappropriate ads that use the word “massage” as well as the inappropriateness of other text or pictures that do not represent massage therapy.

Craigslist will not accept an over-zealous flaggers of posts, and considers that terminable behavior or at least behavior that will be ignored, so if your thinking about being a ‘vigilante’ by going in and flagging hundreds of ads today, your success rate will be much lower.

If each public member and massage therapist flagged just one ad in a responsible manner, Craigslist will be busy getting the message that there are inappropriate and inaccurate listings that need to be removed – the more flags, the more messages. Getting non-MTs out of the Therapeutic Massage section entirely is impossible, but with enough monitoring, it can be reduced greatly and the safety of your client, yourself, and your industry will be better insured.  It only makes things better for the Client and for legitimate practitioners.

  • Has Craigslist ‘stepped up’?
  • What is your experience with Craigslist?
  • Do you think the national attention on the media-touted “Craigslist Killer” has brought the medium of Craigslist under scrutiny and given the massage therapy industry the edge it needs to demand action for the safety of the people who are working in or benefiting from massage therapy?

will the Clark County Public Hearing matter anyway?

So, since the letter from Clark County Business License was sent to massage therapy business owners in the County in February, the Public Hearing regarding the proposed Ordinance 1713-07 has been postponed twice – now, it’s scheduled for May 21st, 9am, at the Clark County Government Center on Grand Central Pkwy in Las Vegas.

The only thing I’ve seen is that steam is building on the MT (specifically, Independents) side, and I’ve seen a few interested and opinionated Establishments get involved, too.  I am really anxious to appear, speak, and see who else is appearing to fight this attempted blow of oppression on an industry that is slowly tearing itself away from being associated with prostitution in this Valley.

But:  Will this steam be productive?  Has the Commission been “advised” already as to the potential and expected turnout from business owners that received the proposterous letter suggesting that massage therapy “crime” has increased and they need a way to keep it under control?

Will they realize (or have they realized) that this poor attempt to micro-manage massage therapy business owners to take the fall for an obviously non-oppressed prostitution industry is too feeble?

Why have they continued to put off a confrontation and a business owner’s right to voice their opinions about laws that they see as serving the safety of the public [Clark County]?

I think it is because there is no value in the proposal – they are attempting to levy power that constitutionally is reserved for the massage therapy business owners to do business according to the needs of their clients in a 24-hour, transient town.

Licensing is a recording and taxing method, not a “moral” issue, for which they’ve not proven there has been unruly law-breaking going on by massage therapists.  Only unrestrained prostitution is the concern, and the fact that the crime rate has gone up only shows that Metro is performing their duty according to the current law.

Since the Nevada State Board of Massage Therapists was created and made law in 2006 (grandfathering for currently-licensed MTs until July 1, 2007), the Board has shouldered the responsibility of verifying the professional credentials and legitimacy of MTs practicing everywhere in the state of Nevada – even Clark County.  The County no longer has to prove that an MT passes a Federal background check (for civil or criminal charges or convictions) or that an MT is qualified to do the work they advertise, based on industry-established norms.

Why make us pay?  Why continue with this proposal?  Why not support the District Attorney when prosecuting solicitation endictments?

I guess they’d have to triple the size of County Jail to incarcerate the convicted prostitutes, which would have more than the “none” (cited) fiscal impact that passing this Ordinance would have on massage therapy business owners.