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Tokyo cops nab Thai woman in human trafficking probe

Onuma Picchapa
Onuma Picchapa

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a Thai woman as a part of investigation into the trafficking of women lured under the false pretense of a “no-expense” trip to Japan, reports TV Asahi (July 8).

In February, Onuma Phitchapha, 35, allegedly introduced a Thai woman, aged in her 20s, to a “delivery health” out-call service in the Otsuka area of Toshima Ward. The suspect is alleged to have made the introduction while knowing that the woman was not eligible to work in Japan.

Phitchapha, who has been charged with violating the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, denies the charges.

Since December of last year, Picchapa has made similar introductions for 14 other women who were lured into the country under the guise that they would “be able to enjoy a no-expense sightseeing in Japan,” according to TBS News (July 8).

Once in the country, the women discovered that they could not return home since they owed debts to Phitchapha, who would then make the introductions to the parlors.

In 2013, the Government of Japan made nationals from Thailand exempt from visa requirements for entry for visits not exceeding 15 consecutive days. According to the Sankei Shimbun (July 8), the suspects have been exploiting this initiative.

As a part of the investigation, police have arrested 25 employees of sex parlors, including the 43-year-old manager of the parlor in Otsuka.

Police became aware of the violations after officers on patrol found the Thai woman inside a vehicle that was providing transportation to rendezvous with male customers.