A 47-year-old man, identified as Kim, was arrested for brokering the passage of 57 women to brothels in Japan, the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency said Monday.
Another woman, Jeong, 44, who lives with Kim, was booked without physical detention for violation of the anti-prostitution law.
They ``hired'' the 57 women, mostly former prostitutes, from Dec. 1 to March 31 through an online ad for overseas prostitution and brokered the passage of 49 of them to 13 brothels in Kawasaki, Japan, police said. The remaining eight worked at a brothel run by Kim. They are suspected of having reaped more than 200 million won in illegal gains.
With online ads promising a monthly income of more than 20 million won, they picked 57 after receiving photos of the applicants via e-mail and conducting phone interviews.
Same news, different day. This time around, say police,
"A stronger yen against the dollar and the harsh crackdown on prostitution here are leading to rises in the brokering of prostitutes to Japan."
The busy sex trade in both countries predates the current economic crisis, though it's interesting that a 2005 Chosun Ilbo article gives the same reasons for prostitutes going abroad:
“It seems that since the Special Law on Prostitution went into effect, the number of pimps and prostitutes going abroad is skyrocketing,” a police officer said. “But we don’t have the full picture since most leave the country ostensibly for tourism.”
Dedicated web groups are awash with advertisements drawing prostitutes abroad. A typical post on one such site boasting no fewer than 1,430 members - cafe.daum.net/zonesogeso - read, “We know that in Korea these days, unemployment, the recession and the Special Law on Prostitution make it hard to earn even half of what you made before. Try a new start in the U.S. W8-10 million a month in a bar, W18-24 million a month in a massage parlor guaranteed. Advances possible. We take care of visas and bad credit.”
In March, police busted a Korean prostitution ring of gay men and transgenders sent to Japan, and the article says the pimp had HIV and had sex with some of the men he hired out.
I'm not familiar enough with Japan to know if there's a fetish for Korean women. I know that in February, Korea Beat translated an article that said there are some Japanese websites that provide instructions for finding prostitutes in Busan to, wait for it, take advantage of the strong yen. My subsequent, um, research showed that there are tons of Japanese websites that offer the service of Korean women. In Korea, a lot of the women pictured on those prostitute trading cards are Japanese, but I suspect this is a result of both lazy image searching and a wish to avoid depicting Korean women in such a role when a foreign woman will do. In spite of the advertising, I highly doubt, for example, that a massage parlor in Gwangju's Unam-dong has as large a supply of Japanese women on hand as their cards and posters would indicate. Or on lap, whatever.