Roads on human trafficking highway lead to Kennedy Blvd

According to a report from the anti-human trafficking group, Polaris - illicit spas and massage parlors are operating in every state in the US, with Tampa near the center of it all.   

According to its report, Polaris says Tampa has one of the highest numbers of those illegal operations.

In an effort to crack down, the city recently passed a revamped bath house ordinance aimed at strictly regulating spas to weed out any illegal activity.

“It is bigger than most people can imagine,” said Rochelle Keyhan, with Polaris. “The clauses in that ordinance are very strong so long as it's enforced. Tampa is really paving the way."

The report reveals a booming, $2.5 billion a year industry thriving on the underground sex trade. 

Crista Hernandez spent 20 years in that world. She now helps other women going through what she endured through her organization, Loving You Where You're At.

“It is horrible. There [are] unspeakable things happening. They're having to do unspeakable things with these customers,” she said.

She calls Tampa's new ordinance an important first step but would like to see even tougher laws on the books.

“I think we have to take it further and get it to where the buyers are made to register like sex offenders. If they were made to register like sex offenders that would put a huge dent in this crime,” she said.