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Dec 6, 2022

Human trafficking in adults involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Human trafficking is an insidious crime and affects a variety of communities and industries. In this episode of The ABMP Podcast, Kristin and Darren speak with FSMTB Executive Director Dr. Debra Persinger about the FSMTB’s efforts to help identify human trafficking within institutions of higher education, how schools that engage in trafficking are identified, and why this is important not only to state regulators, but to the entire massage therapy profession.

Persinger brings a rare combination of management experience, examination expertise, and national and state legislative know-how to the FSMTB. She has directed all psychometric aspects of examination development and was instrumental in offering award-winning quality assessment services for examinations for four professional certification and licensure programs.

After completing her undergraduate degree in human nutrition and postgraduate teacher training in her native New Zealand, Persinger completed her master’s degree in human development and family studies and her doctorate degree in human services at Kansas State University. She is a former university lecturer and has authored several publications, including a student study guide for human sexuality, an instructor’s manual on marriage and family, and since joining the federation, coauthored Conversations with Teachers of Asian Medicine.

She serves on the Board of two nonprofit associations. She frequently presents at national regulatory and credentialing conferences and has provided trainings for local and federal law enforcement agencies about the intersection of massage therapy and human trafficking.




Human Trafficking Task Force Report:


A Toolkit for Identifying Human Trafficking and Fraud in Higher Education:


Volunteer for FSMTB




Darren Buford is senior director of communications and editor-in-chief for ABMP. He is editor of Massage & Bodywork magazine and has worked for ABMP for 22 years, and been involved in journalism at the association, trade, and consumer levels for 24 years. He has served as board member and president of the Western Publishing Association, as well as board member for Association Media & Publishing. Contact him at

Kristin Coverly, LMT is a massage therapist, educator, and the director of professional education at ABMP. She loves creating continuing education courses, events, and resources to support massage therapists and bodyworkers as they enhance their lives and practices. Contact her at




Anatomy Trains:


Anatomy Trains is a global leader in online anatomy education and also provides in-classroom certification programs for structural integration in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and China, as well as fresh-tissue cadaver dissection labs and weekend courses. The work of Anatomy Trains originated with founder Tom Myers, who mapped the human body into 13 myofascial meridians in his original book, currently in its fourth edition and translated into 12 languages. The principles of Anatomy Trains are used by osteopaths, physical therapists, bodyworkers, massage therapists, personal trainers, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, and other body-minded manual therapists and movement professionals. Anatomy Trains inspires these practitioners to work with holistic anatomy in treating system-wide patterns to provide improved client outcomes in terms of structure and function.