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Mail Magazine vol.141: “[Malicious! Host Club Commercial Law]

We Urged the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to Strengthen Measures Against Damage" On May 22, the “Liaison Council of Parents Who Protect Youth” and PAPS, a nonprofit organization, met with Minister Keizou Takemi and Vice Minister Miyazaki of Health, Labor, and Welfare, to report the actual conditions of the host club business, and to demand stronger measures against the problem. At the beginning of the meeting, Minister Keizou Takemi said, “We would like to understand the actual situation and hear your opinions on what we should do to solve the problem.

The following is a summary of PAPS's remarks.

The so-called “host club business,” a “malicious business practice that takes advantage of a partner's romantic feelings to charge high prices for food and drink,” forces young women to spend more money than they own, creating a situation in which they are forced to sell their sex in order to pay for it. This is the gateway to human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Furthermore, many women have contracted sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis or have been forced to have abortions because they could not refuse to accept sex from their hosts.

Although there are those who come to consult with us saying that they are having trouble paying their accounts receivable, there are not many who come to us saying that they want to stop going to the host. The problem is the system of “mind control” and “creating a state of dependence".

One victim was sold to a brothel in the U.S. for a limited period of time by a scout for a host club owner, and was forced to stay there under virtual house arrest, taking customers almost every day. After returning to Japan, the victim continued to suffer serious physical and mental damage, including being rushed to the hospital after taking a large number of pills due to the hardship of the situation.

For these reasons, PAPS believes that matters such as this case are trafficking in persons cases.

In recent press releases, it has become a hotbed of organized crime, from group assaults and fatal assaults to overseas pimping, and some of the female victims have chosen to commit suicide.

At PAPS, we are working to support the victims in order to somehow stop the recent situation, but honestly speaking, the welfare of young women is losing out to those who sexually exploit them, as there is currently no law to curb or eradicate “sexual exploitation” such as host club business.

Some staff members of PAPS who were victims of the host club business when they were teenagers also participated, and were able to explain in detail the actual perpetration that host clubs engage in.

The following recommendations were made by PAPS

Regarding protection:

  • Protection of victims of host club commercial law (e.g., ensuring a means to escape or get out. (For example, ensuring that they have the means to escape or get out, and not arresting female victims under the Anti-Solicitation Law, etc., as this leads to a sense of exclusion and isolation.)

  • Early support and involvement in cases of violence, syphilis, hepatitis B and other sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy.

Regarding prosecution, punishment, and regulation:

  • Strengthen control of solicitation (scouting and catching) and maximize the use of the Employment Security Law, Entertainment Business Law, etc.

  • Strengthen penalties to prevent perpetration and recidivism; tighten regulations on web advertisements, billboards, and advertisement buses; strengthen elimination of anti-social forces such as semi-gres and organized crime groups.

As for victim relief and social rehabilitation:

  • Cancellation and support of debts in the form of expensive food and beverage bills and accounts receivable

  • Extensive care for victims, “support to break away from isolation and dependence”.

Prevention of harm and damage:

  • Reinforcement of outreach on the street in the center of the host club business

  • Raise awareness of malicious business practices that use romantic feelings against young men to charge them for expensive food and drinks

  • Replacing words that do not make victims feel responsible for their own actions (specifically: “standing around” → women forced to sell sex, “migrant workers” → overseas pimping).

After the exchange of opinions, Minister Keizou Takemi responded that what can be done now is to strengthen the training of the staff of the support centers that provide counseling to victims, and to cooperate with related ministries, agencies, and the public and private sectors to do what we can to help.

The meeting confirmed that the government will make the best use of what it can do to address the issue. It may have been a small step forward in terms of damage relief, but we believe it was an opportunity to make a major step forward. Because of the limitations of the current law, PAPS will continue to make proposals on the development of laws necessary for damage relief.



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