Japanese sex workers going abroad to earn money face police crackdown

One of the lesser-known effects of the coronavirus pandemic (or at least, the recent economic situation caused by multiple factors) is that it has led to an influx of Japanese sex workers in Kabukicho going abroad to earn better money.

According to recent articles in the magazine Friday (March 31 and April 7 issues), the United States used to be a popular destination among Japanese prostitutes, but increased checks at immigration control — including apparently checking smartphone pics to see if they contain lingerie-clad selfies — have prompted sex workers to seek out alternative destinations. Some are going to Dubai and Southeast Asia instead, it seems.

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And this has led to a crackdown by local police (we reported last year on the arrest of Japanese porn star Noa Aizawa, who was providing sex services from a luxury hotel in Hong Kong).

Friday spoke with a 22-year-old university student who was arrested in Southeast Asia.

“I went abroad to earn money so I could give my favorite host a ¥10 million champagne tower, since he was going to quit in January.”

A lot of these women are apparently making contact with locals and arranging conditions for their trips via social media.

The interviewee had previously done sex work abroad, earning over ¥200,000 a day — a fee unimaginable in Japan. For just an hour of “play,” the client would pay ¥50,000, of which she took 70%.

So it was a no-brainer when it came to deciding to go again when she wanted to earn some quick cash. She left Japan in mid-December, intending to stay abroad for two weeks.

However, one week into the trip and just after she had taken a client back to her hotel room, she suddenly found herself handcuffed, arrested, and in a detention center. Luckily, she was released two days later. She wasn’t the real target; the police had actually hoped to arrest her local pimp.

But the police called her back in for questioning and kept her phone and passport, so she couldn’t go home.

Her favorite host saved the day: she was able to contact him when initially arrested and he bought a phone and took it to her.

The student and sex worker remains stuck in the unnamed country in Southeast Asia, according to Friday, three months on. “The owner of the prostitution ring has been arrested, so they will probably call me as a witness in the trial. The date for the trial isn’t decided yet, so I don’t know when I can go home.”

She was meant to graduate college in April and start working at a company. She has yet to explain to them that she is stuck outside the country.

The plucky host has again stepped in to help, explaining to her family (who are blissfully ignorant of her frequenting of host clubs or employment in the sex industry) that there was unspecified “trouble” on a trip overseas and she was arrested.

“I want to go home quickly and marry him,” she confesses.

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1 Comment

  • jack from downunder April 9, 2024

    Totally fascinates us how many young women are working the night trade and yet their family has no idea – seriously are Japanese parents that trusting in a country that has seen the numbers of working girls explode in the last few years.

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