We recently told you about a local group shedding light on so-called "illicit massage parlors" in South Tampa.
Clean Up Kennedy has been protesting outside some of these parlors letting everybody know the men and women could possibly being victims of sex trafficking.
Now, they have Tampa City Council backing them up to shut them down.
“This is our opportunity moving forward to do something meaningful and clean up Kennedy,” says District 6 Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalo.
Since Clean Up Kennedy has started bringing awareness of the illicit massage parlors in South Tampa, city council members say two of them have shut down.
One of them was Seven Star Spa Massage Parlor.
“You guys are doing work that will change people’s lives, “said Luis Viera to Clean Up Kennedy members.
Here are three things, among others, the city is planning on attacking:
1. Regulating how massage therapists get their licenses.
2. Tightening the "Bath House" ordinance.
3. Figuring out where these men and women are coming from.
The city's legal department has been gathering information from the health department and Tampa police to get a better understanding of what they're dealing with.
Why are these parlors even open?
“A lot of these people working in these facilities will get a license out of New York and come to Florida with reciprocity,” says Michael Schmid, Tampa assistant city attorney.
Per Florida Board of Massage therapy, Florida law does not allow massage therapists to work in Florida without a Florida license.
“We would like to instill a sense of urgency because every day women are being held in unimaginable situations and forced against their will,” says Joe Manson with Clean Up Kennedy.
In September, the council will meet with the city's health and immigration departments.
They'll talk more about ideas to combat sex trafficking.
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