Tokyo attempts to fight prostitution with counseling

The pandemic has led to an increase in prostitution in Japan’s capital, Tokyo, as many women, worried about money, took the decision to start working in the sex industry.

The Metropolitan Police Department has responded and started a program to encourage women to stop offering sex services through counseling. In particular in Okubo Park in Tokyo’s Kabukichi red light district, prostitution has increased with more and more desperate women waiting there for clients and performing in cheap hotels.

The police’s tactic is to lure the women to a hotel full of civilian investigators, where an officer is ready to speak with them. Most of the women that chose to practice as a sex worker is doing it because the pandemic has made it absolutely impossible to pay their bills. Many of them were on the verge of losing their homes.

The police tried to convince the women to ask for social help for their financial problems and to stop working in the sex industry. In Kabukicho in particular, prostitution is very lucrative, the usual price being between 10.000yen (€77) and 15.000yen (€116).

According to the MPO, charges would rarely be pressed against the anti-prostitution law violation. It is more important to persuade the women to stop performing altogether.

Support instead of punishment

The initiative of this project started last November when the police realised that just exposing the act is not enough to get the situation under control, especially when the number of women was constantly increasing.

Last year, 60 women were able to be helped through counseling. The MPO hpes that other cities will use the same initiative and start helping the women instead of punishing them. 

Previously we wrote

France invested 14 million euros to identify underage people involved in prostitution and track their customers and pimps more effectively: 14 Million euro: France declares war against underage prostitution

A joint investigate group was formed in Hamburg, to fight against human traffickers: Police took hundreds of officers against suspected human traffickers

The corona virus pandemic caused a lot of traffic to sex club owners, many of the clubs already closed. Read our overview about Stuttgart’s clubs: Multiple sex clubs in Stuttgart close due to regulations

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