Feds investigate after USA TODAY report on massage school accused of ties to prostitution


At the American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Minnesota regulators said they found "a theme of prostitution and/or human trafficking."

WASHINGTON – The Education Department plans to review an accrediting agency that approved a college with suspected ties to sex trafficking, after a USA TODAY investigation showed links between massage schools and illicit spas.

The American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine remains accredited, which means its students can take out federal student loans or Pell grants. The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has approved the college’s ability to receive federal money. 

That’s despite a finding last year by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that the Roseville, Minnesota, for-profit college had a “theme of prostitution and/or human trafficking.” The state agency quickly ordered the school to close or to find a new owner. The college chose the latter and is preparing to start its fall semester. Its new owner disputes the findings of the Minnesota regulators.

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