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Unlicensed, illicit massage therapists a national problem, now here

Many can remember when Minot and other small cities and towns in the region were untouched by many of the worst challenges facing bigger cities. Long-time residents share stories about days when they didn’t feel the need to lock their doors or could leave their vehicles running when running into a store quickly.

However, things have changed and it isn’t just because of sizable population growth as a result of newcomers to the community. Drugs, particularly opioid based poison, human trafficking, a notable increase in petty theft, burglary and domestic violence – many of which stem from drug abuse – are just the most obvious of society’s ills to take root in our region.

Add to the list illicit providers of massage therapy, as reported on last week in Minot Daily News.

Unlicensed service providers are one problem and there are laws in effect to address those individuals and/or businesses.

However, often the illegal practice includes far more than that. Stories from around the country recount unlicensed facilities that are effectively just fronts for prostitution and human trafficking. It’s a very serious problem in many urban areas and one challenging to combat.

Last week’s arrest was for prostitution. It was unclear at the time if the facility was licensed or not. Nor has the actual case been ajudicated.

A member of the North Dakota Board of Massage Therapy says unlicensed massage therapists are a problem in the state. Meanwhile the Minot police were involved in a 2013 case which led to arrests at a massage business in which human trafficking was charged.

At this point, authorities aren’t asserting Minot or the region is beset by these illicit businesses.

That said, Minot Daily News cautions residents and consumers that this is a challenge, another one that has reached us.

There are plenty of good, legal service providers. Make sure you know with whom you are doing business.

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