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Osaka prostitution ring prospered in pandemic

OSAKA (TR) – The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused many businesses to increasingly rely on the internet for survival.

The way evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (Nov. 22) tells it, one prostitution ring in Osaka City was doing just that by recruiting customers via dating sites — and raking in plenty of cash to boot — right up until law enforcement got involved.

According to the paper, proprietor Toshikazu Tami, 42, and employee Kenta Tsugawa, 36, used smartphones to create profiles for women on the deai-kei sites.

An investigator tells says that male customers responding to the ads were instructed what time and place to meet — usually a love hotel district, such as in the Kita or Minami areas — and what to wear.

“There were five women, all in their twenties,” the source says. “It seems that Tamai had previously had a job in the commercial sex trade. So he tapped those contacts and also invited female friends in assembling the women.”

Among them were women who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. “For others, they sold their bodies for money to pay tabs at host clubs,” the investigator continues.

Love hotels in the Kita area of Osaka City were regularly used by a prostitution ring (The Tokyo Reporter)

20,000 yen plus extras

In communicating with customers, the suspects often used a coded language. For example, the expression betsuni (read literally as “separate” and “two”) meant 20,000 yen plus extras (such as the hotel fee) when referring to the price.

The ring split the takings with the women. Between January and September, earnings totaled a handsome 29 million yen. Prostitutes servicing multiple men per day were known to collect 1 million yen in a single month.

Upon his arrest on suspicion of violating the anti-prostitution law, Tamai denied the allegations. “I do not clearly recall [the matter],” the suspect was quoted by police.

The use of the internet cafe was to reduce the chances that they’d be tracked, the investigative source adds. “They had five smartphones, one for each girl,” the source says. “It seems like the income was used to cover living and entertainment expenses.”