Party of Values? Tampa Strip Clubs Ready for RNC

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TAMPA, Fla. -- There's a dark side to nearly any convention, and it appears the Republican National Convention is no exception.

Tampa strip clubs reportedly did quite a bit of redesigning and rebuilding just before the GOP convention came to town.

The reason: Make entrances and exits less obvious to the outside world.

"And so those who would like to sneak in and sneak out without being noticed can do so," said Taryn Mastrean, communications director for Shared Hope International, a group that works to fight sex-trafficking.

Mastrean said she wonders why, with the pro-family positions so many Republicans take, they contribute to such businesses.

"Many of the women that we work with said that they at some point during their trafficking experience were used in a strip club," Mastrean told CBN News. "We also know that strip clubs often will recruit minors."

Bill Bunkley, host of the conservative Tampa radio talk show "Drive Time," said he is familiar with the phenomenon.

"Some of the ladies who are offering their services -- they've been on the Internet for quite some time so that even before some of their clients got to Tampa they could begin selecting who they would like to spend some time with," Bunkley said.

Mastrean's group helped put up nine billboards throughout Tampa for convention time that read, "This man wants to rent your daughter."

It's a message designed to raise awareness that sex trafficking isn't some exotic, faraway problem.

"This isn't an issue that just lurks in the back alleys," Mastrean explained. "It's not in a dark, hidden underworld. It's absolutely out in the public. It's on the streets, and they're average men. They're your men who are pastors, politicians, fathers, husbands, businessmen."

Bunkley told CBN News this was not a political issue.

"It doesn't matter which convention that we're at, what's wrong is wrong, so we deplore all those activities," he said.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.