September 28 City Council Workshop

It’s been just over five months since the Channel 8 news report: "Are ‘Storefronts for Sex’ thriving along Tampa’s Kennedy Blvd?" blasted the issue of illicit massage business into the public spotlight in Tampa and inspired citizens to launch the Clean Up Kennedy movement. 

The September 28th meeting was the third time that the Tampa City Council has had this issue on the agenda. Thursday there was an hour of presentations from the Assistant City Attorney and the Florida Department of Health followed by public comments by other organizations that were present. Representatives from PolarisUSIAHTCreatedFlorida State Massage Therapy Association, and the Florida Department of Health were present at the meeting and testified and commented on the situation.

The Assistant City Attorney seems confident that retooling the bath house regulations that are already on the books will work to make it harder for these businesses to continue their illicit activities including commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.

The Representatives from the Department of Health insisted that there were already systems in place to keep individuals with criminal records from holding massage licenses and that there have been just under 2,300 inspections in Tampa over the last two years. The Department of Health also provided Clean Up Kennedy with a method to file complaints against massage establishments suspected of illicit activity.
You can find the link here:
The number we were given was (850) 245-4478

Below are some notable quotes from the meeting:

"I'm glad that we are discussing this because this situation is a complete embarrassment to the city and should be an embarrassment." Councilman Harry Cohen 

 "It's not about Clean Up Kennedy, it's about cleaning up Tampa" Councilman Mike Saurez 

“For Florida, especially Tampa being the lead in Florida, taking a stand on this could have ripple effects across the country if they do this right.” Rochelle Keyhan Polaris Strategic Initiative Director for IMBs

Here is the full video of the workshop, public comments begin at 37:25.

 Members of Clean Up Kennedy and USIAHT

 Mark Douglas interviewing Clean Up Kennedy founder Joe Manson

 Channel 8 reporter Mark Douglas reported on the meeting with a video and article.

Shannon Valladolid with Channel 10 WTSP also put out a report and video with additional content on her Facebook Page.

Just a few miles from Old City Hall, Seven Star Spa has reopened under the new name “Sun Spa.” In the words of Joe Manson, founder of Clean Up Kennedy, “They’re not fooling anybody with their change of name, we know what’s going on in there.” Despite the name change volunteers have reported that several members of the Seven Star staff now work at Sun Spa. There is no proof that their illicit business practices have changed.

Clean Up Kennedy will continue their efforts to end sex trafficking on Kennedy Boulevard and in the greater Tampa Bay area. If you would like to get more involved, please contact us on Facebook or by visiting our website

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