Proposed Law Would Give Delaware Stronger Oversight on Massage E - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Law Would Give Delaware Stronger Oversight on Massage Establishments

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DOVER, Del. -- A bill in Delaware's House would give the state more oversight on massage establishments, a move supporters say will help authorities deal more effectively with crimes like prostitution and human trafficking.

The legislation, which was advanced by a House committee last week, could receive a floor vote as early as this week. It would allow the state's Board of Massage and Bodywork to regulate massage services and to "grant or deny licensure of such establishments and adopt regulations pertaining to the licensure, maintenance and standards to be applied to such establishments."

Currently, the state only regulates massage therapists through the Division of Professional Regulation.

Rep. Steve Smyk (R-Sussex County), a co-sponsor on the bill and a former state trooper, said it would help shut down human trafficking because it would allow the state to shut down illegitimate businesses where prostitution is occurring. 

"In law enforcement, you do see it. But when you try to explain that to your everyday person who's getting up and going to work and seeing the same things and the same people every day, they think that you're just making it up," he said.

People who operate unlicensed massage parlors could face criminal or civil penalties under the proposal.

Sue-Brown Henry, a massage therapist who owns Body Mind and Soul Day Spa and Massage near Dover, said the proposed law needs to be effectively enforced in order to make it worth the state's time but notes that stories of prostitution occurring in spas has tarnished the field she works in.

"It disrespects what I do and I don't like that. I'm good at what I do," she said. "I'm professional with what I do, and I help people."

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