The Tokyo Reporter

Cambodian police arrest Japanese national in human trafficking probe

Police in Cambodia have accused Japanese national Susumu Fukui (second from right) of masterminding a human trafficking operation that sent women from Phnom Penh to Japan (Phnom Penh Post)

CAMBODIA (TR) – Cambodian police last week arrested a Japanese national living in the capital Phnom Penh as a part of a human trafficking case that emerged in Japan last year.

On February 4, police arrested restaurant manager Susumu Fukui, his wife, a Cambodian national, and one other person for forcing Cambodian women into the sex trade in Japan after luring them under the false promise that they would be waitresses, according information posted to the National Police website, reports the Cambodia Daily (Feb. 7).

Last month, police in Japan’s rural Gunma Prefecture arrested two male Japanese nationals and a Thai woman for allegedly employing seven Cambodian women, aged between 20 and 36, as hostesses without proper visas at a parlor and bar in Numata and Shibukawa cities.

The suspects were accused of violating immigration laws. However, they are also under investigation for coercing the women to work as prostitutes.

According to the Phnom Penh Post (Feb. 7), police in Cambodia allege that Susumu ran the operation, with he and his wife having told the Cambodian women that they could earn up to 5,000 U.S. dollars per month by working as waitresses in Japan. The third suspect, Seng Chandy, a 34-year-old employee at Susumu’s restaurant, was tasked with producing fake immigration documentation for the women.

Upon their arrival in Japan, however, the women were forced to serve as prostitutes for customers at the two establishments in Gunma.

The Embassy Cambodia in Japan rescued the women in early December after one of them posted a plea for help on its Facebook page. All seven women returned to Cambodia in January.

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