"Clean Up Kennedy" protesters want more done to combat sex crimes

Tampa City Council to consider new strategies
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 17:50:28-04

Despite the glaring Florida sun and stifling humidity, a group of Tampa residents have been braving the elements, all to get the attention of drivers on Kennedy Boulevard during rush hour traffic. 

They're planning to be out there again from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday evening near the intersection of N. Grady Avenue.

Their concern is a problem that's been persistent for decades despite repeated efforts to eliminate it: prostitution and human trafficking. 

Concerned residents have recently organized behind a young man named Joe Manson and his group named Clean Up Kennedy. They've been protesting over the past few months outside one of the parlors on Kennedy Blvd. they suspect of committing crimes, and the group believes they've gotten the attention of the city council.

Manson tells ABC Action News that city attorneys have promised to brief city council members at the next city council meeting the morning of July 27 to offer suggestions on ways to help fix the problem.

Manson suggests a tweaking of the rules to help police identify possible criminals activity.

Currently state law says massage parlors can't be open from midnight until 5 a.m. but Mason believes if the city extended that ban to go from 10 p.m. until 5 p.m. it would make it easier to catch the people doing wrong.

Manson says regular residents could more easily identify parlors open late, while still not affecting parlors doing legitimate work.

Right now police and state workers rarely conduct undercover operations at salons, instead relying on tips or complaints from the public.

Manson hopes people will help him crowd Tampa's city council meeting on the 27th to make sure the council members know this is a big priority.