Surge in trans sex workers Yokohama alarms residents and police

While the Japanese mainstream media and social media seems obsessed right now with young women reduced to prostituting themselves in Okubo Park, Kabukicho, allegedly over host club debts, people in Yokohama are apparently upset over a “surge” in trans sex workers.

Before the pandemic, the Asahi reports, just two male prostitutes were detained in 2019. But several male prostitutes presenting as women have been arrested since May this year by Kanagawa police.

The suspects are from Thailand, the Philippines, and Peru. Cameras were installed the monitor the activities on the streets and police went undercover to catch the suspects.

Known in Japanese somewhat euphemistically as newhalf, trans sex workers are able to exploit a curious loophole: the anti-prostitution law only relates to women (as in, people born women and/or who remain legally women). Instead, Kanagawa cops have been forced to arrest the sex workers for violating a prefectural ordinance against nuisance soliciting, nominally designed to stop people pestering passersby to come to their izakaya.

Soliciting prostitution is illegal, which is why streetwalkers put themselves at risk, but only carries a six-month sentence and small fine. These trans women, though, probably face an even lighter penalty (just a tiny fine) but might be held for a few days, which is unlikely to be nice, and then deported.

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Yokohama’s main red-light district is Koganecho, but the residents of the quieter nearby district of Wakabacho are furious about the foreign “ladyboys” (to use the term employed by the Asahi) loitering in the neighborhood, trying to pick up men.

“The atmosphere of the neighborhood is bad that residents don’t walk about at night,” said Susumu Ashihara, the 83-year-old neighborhood association head.

This may well be another media-generated moral panic to us. The “surge” is — gasp — as many as five people arrested between May and September!

Police have pulled out all the stops, deploying 57 officers in September alone to round up 17 people. Of these, 13 were reportedly Thai men (we assume trans women), but there were also Thai, Chinese, and Japanese women. Some, of course, claimed to just be minding their own business.

The cops have even taken to badgering guys leaving hotels alone, asking them if they visited a male prostitute.

According to the article, male prostitutes in Japan often came from South Korea until the main pimp running the prostitution ring was nabbed in 2013.

The reporting does not specify and opts to call the sex workers “men” (probably because their legal sex is key to what the police can or can’t do in this case), but we assume these are trans women we would ordinarily call shemale (i.e., presenting as women and with surgically added breasts, but still with a penis).

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1 Comment

  • Ladyboy Reports November 28, 2023

    If they are indeed from Thailand, then “ladyboy” IS the proper term. Unlike the reality-bending trans activists of the West, the Thai people a much more reasonable and historical position. In Thailand, the ladyboys or “kathoeys” are viewed as a “third sex” that is different from both male and female. Doesn’t that make a lot more sense than pretending people with dicks can have periods?

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