MLN Vol.10. N0.3

Massage Law Newsletter

Vol. 10, No . 3                                  ISSN 1073-5461                                      June 1999   

ORIENTAL BODYWORKER ARRESTED AT GUNPOINT, HANDCUFFED, AND JAILED IN NEW YORK CITY

Albert Schatz and Mary Brewster

BODYWORKERS, WHO ARE NOT LICENSED MASSAGE THERAPISTS, ARE NOW SUBJECT TO ARREST IN NEW YORK STATE BECAUSE OF A 1966 ANTI-PROSTITUTION LAW

"On May 26, an oriental bodywork practitioner in New York City was arrested at gunpoint by four police officers, handcuffed, jailed, and charged with practicing massage without a license. She was held for 12 hours, after which she received an ACD (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal). This means that although no plea was entered, she can no longer work at her profession, under threat of further arrest.

"This bodyworker is an accomplished dancer-choreographer in New York City, has done graduate work at the University of Amsterdam, and is a graduate of the Ohashi Institute, where she studied oriental therapies for three years before receiving her certification. 

"The New York State Coalition of Non-Massage Organizations believes the charges against her are unfounded.

The following organizations comprise the Coalition: Alexander Technique International, American Society for the Alexander Technique, Inc., American Oriental Bodywork Association, American Polarity Therapy Association, Body-Mind Centering, Feldenkrais Guild,® Hellerwork International, Inc., International Independent Reiki Masters and Practitioners, Association, International Somatic Movement Education Therapy Association, New York State Reflexology  Association, The Rosen® Institute, Rubebnfeld Synergy® Method, The Trager® Institute.

"The New York massage statute defines massage as 'engaging in applying a scientific system of activity to the muscular structure of the human body by means of stroking, kneading, tapping and vibrating with the hands or vibrators for the purpose of improving muscle tone and circulation.'

"The statute does not define the methods or intent of other non-massage practices (such as Alexander Technique, Body-Mind Centering, Feldenkrais,® Hellerwork, Oriental Bodywork, Polarity, Reflexology, Reiki, Rolfing,® Rosen,® Rubernfeld Synergy,® Trager,® approach, and others).

"The State Department of Education and the Massage Board insist that these non-massage practices are regulated by the statute, and therefore claim that they are practicing illegally.

"For more than six years the New York Coalition of Non-Massage Organizations has voiced its opposition to this interpretation of the statute by the State Education Department.  The Massage Board is the Advisory Board to the State Education Department concerning all massage matters. When the Coalition requests to be heard by the Massage Board, we are told to go back to the State Education Department and/or the Board of Regents, both of which send us back to the Massage Board. This is a 'Catch 22' situation, and as a result, we have no forum.

 "The Coalition served the New York State Education Department with a FOIL (Freedom of Information Letter) in January, 1999. Because the letter was answered only in part, it did not address our questions of how, when, and why each of our alternative practices was made  part of massage therapy.

"Having no recourse with the state, over the last 8 months, the New York State Coalition of Non-Massage Organizations has been meting with the New York State Joint Council of Massage Therapy Schools and Organizations to attempt to clarify and define our practices. The Coalition is not opposed to regulation, only to unjust/inappropriate regulation. The State is enforcing regulation without representation?

"The New York massage statute, enacted in 1966 as an anti-prostitution law, is now being interpreted by the Department of Education to include all practices that use hands-on work. The recent arrest of the oriental bodywork practitioner in New York City is the first of what could be many such arrests if the State Department of Education pursues its current course of action.

"This action will have far-reaching effects, beyond just practitioners themselves. Alternative Schools will close, practitioners will no longer be renting space in New York, those who chose to become Licensed Massage Therapists will have to raise their rates to cover the high cost of unnecessary schooling, and New York's economy will suffer. This is a losing proposition.

 "As we head into the new millennium, and as the alternative health field is expanding exponentially, the State Board of Education is limiting New Yorkers choices. Voice your opinion. Show your concern.

ACTION: WHAT TO DO

"Please call Commissioner Johanna Duncan-Poitier at the New York State Department of Education (518-474-3862) today. Or write her at the State Education Department, The State University of New York. Albany, NY 12230. Voice your concern over our right to practice, and your right to select the alternative practitioner of your choice."

The  information in this report is quoted from a  June 8, 1999, Press Release from the New York State Coalition of Non-Massage Organizations. The Press Release listed Don Schwartz (415-388-2688) as the Contact Person.

 

WHAT'S HAPPENING, AND WHY?

HAVE THOSE WHO PROMOTED STATE REGULATION OF MASSAGE THERAPISTS PROTESTED THE  ARREST OF THE ORIENTAL BODYWORKER ON MAY 26?

IF NOT, WHY  NOT?

Who will benefit?

Follow the money trail to find out who will benefit in $$$$$$ if licensed massage therapists are the only practitioners who can legally do bodywork in New York.. 

More and more money will be involved because more and more people are paying for massage.

$$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$

It seems that proponents of licensing are hopeful that a state license would mean more money, status, and power. - Jerry A. Green, Attorney  for the California Coalition on Somatic Practices.

I think the move toward licensure is regrettable. I believe licensing creates state-sanctioned monopolies ... with the explicit goal of  'protecting the public,' but with the real effect of protecting those who hold the monopolies' respective entitlements, reducing information to the public, and restricting competition. - Don Schwartz.

Is theMay 26 arrest "inappropriate

governmental interference

in lawful business:?

We believe the arrest may violate constitutional law and U.S. Supreme Court decisions that (a) protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press; and prohibit discrimination, inappropriate governmental interference in lawful business, unfair trade practices, restraint of trade and monopoly control. 

The arrest is a confrontation of monopoly control and human rights; that is the right to work provision in the United Nations' International Bill of Human Rights.

The issue involves what the Institute of Justice In Washington, D.C. calls economic liberty. This is the freedom to earn a living by doing the work one chooses, provided that does not adversely affect the public health, safety, and welfare.

ARRESTING PROSTITUTES IS AN UNJUSTIFIABLE DRAIN ON POLICE TIME AND MONEY

The following information is taken from the report Prostitution and Massage published as Special Issue No. 4 of the Journal of Spiritual Bodywork (October 1997).

"In 1994, police in Boston, Cleveland, and Houston arrested twice as many people for prostitution as they did for all homicides, rapes, robberies, and assaults combined, while perpetrators evaded arrest for 90%  of these violent crimes.

"Cleveland [police] officers spent 18 hours - the equivalent of two workdays - on prostitution duty for every violent offense failing to yield an arrest. The average cost per bust was almost $2,000, and the average big-city police department spent 213 man-hours a day enforcing prostitution laws... 

"It is estimated that "6 large American cities spent more than $120 million to suppress prostitution in 1985. One Los Angeles official estimated that, in 1993, prostitution enforce-ment was costing the city more than $100 million a year."

"Locking up prostitutes and their customers is especially irrational at a time when more than 35 states are under court orders to reduce prison overcrowding.

"Gerald Arenberg, executive director of the National Association of the Chiefs of Police, has come out in favor of legalizing prostitution.

"Dennis Martin, president of the {National Association of the Chiefs of Police}, declared that prostitution law enforcement is 'much too time-consuming, and police forces are short-staffed.

"Maryland Judge Darryl Russell observed: 'We have to explore other alternatives to solving this problem because this eats up a lot of manpower of the police. We're just putting out brush fires while the forest is blazing.

"National surveys have shown that 94% of citizens believe that police do not respond quickly enough to calls for help, and the endless pursuit of prostitution is one factor that slows down many police departments from responding to other crimes."

______________

So many prostitutes have been arrested for so many years in so many cities and so many states with no well-documented evidence that all those arrests have significantly reduced prostitution.

If something has been so ineffective in so many places for so many years, why keep on doing the same thing? Why not try something else?

A LETTER TO HOWARD SAFIR,

NEW YORK CITY COMMISSIONER OF POLICE

IS THE MAY 26 ARREST OF THE ORIENTAL BODYWORKER A CASE OF "FALSE

ARREST?"

We would appreciate your providing us with the information requested in the following questions. Also please give us permission to publish your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter.

After Hawaii began to regulate massage therapists, "The Honolulu Police Department reported that instead of using massage as a front, prostitutes had shifted their activity to other fronts, such as escort and dating services."

What well-documented evidence do you have that the arrest of the oriental bodyworkers, on May 26, has protected the safety, health, and welfare of the public?

Does that arrest on May 26 violate constitutional law, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and the right-to work provision in the United Nations' Inter-national Bill of Human Rights?

 The constitutional law and U.S. Supreme Court decisions (to which we refer) protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press; and prohibit discrimination, arbitrary governmental interference in lawful business, restraint of trade, unfair trade practices, and monopolies.

More questions

1. What justified the need for four policemen to arrest one woman bodyworker and do so at gunpoint?

2. What evidence did the police have that she might be armed or dangerous in any other way?

3. Why was she detained for as long as 12 hours before she received an ACD (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal)?

4. How many professional bodyworkers - who are members of the associations which comprise the New York State Coalition of Non-Massage Organizations  (listed in the left-hand column of page1) - have been arrested on charges of prostitution in New York City during the past five years?

5. What well-documented evidence do you have that the arrest of the above-mentioned non-massage bodyworkers has significantly reduced prostitution in New York City; and, if so, to what extent?

6. How many of the above-mentioned non-massage body-workers were guilty of prostitution?

7. How serious a problem are non-massage bodyworkers relative to other serious problems which adversely affect the public, and with which the New York City police are concerned?

8. Is the arrest of this bodyworker by four policemen the most effective way the New York City police department can spend its time and money to protect the public?

9. What was the total overall cost of the May 26 arrest, including the time the woman was in detention?  In Cleveland, the average cost per bust was $2,000.

10. How much money and what percent of the total annual budget of the New York City Police Department is allocated to arresting  prostitutes?

11. What well-documented evidence is there that the arrest of prostitutes in New York City has significantly reduced prostitution; and, if so, to what extent?

References

Schatz, A. Prostitution and Massage. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. Special Issue No. 4. October , 1997.

Calvert, R. N. Letter to the Editor. Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. 3(3):6-7. July, 1998.

Schatz, A. Do state massage laws and local massage ordinances violate U.S. Constitutional Law, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and the United Nations' International Bill of Rights? Massage Law Newsletter. 4(3):1-6. 1998.

A LETTER TO JOHANNA DUNCAN-POITIER, NEW YORK STATE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION, FOR THE OFFICE OF THE PROFESSIONS

We would appreciate your providing us with the information requested in the following questions. Also please give us permission to publish your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter.

1. Who made the decision to interpret the New York State anti-prostitution law, enacted  in 1966, to include non-massage bodyworkers?

2. When was that decision made? 

3. What well-documented evidence justifies that decision?

4. When did the state begin enforcing that decision?

5. What well-documented information do you have which indicates that prohibiting non-massage bodyworkers from practicing has significantly reduced prostitution in New York State; and. if so, to what extent did it do that?

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