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Sleazy district attracting Sex, mainland gangsters

Date Posted: 2004-10-07

The glitz and glitter is all shiny in Maehara, an area of Ginowan not too far from Futenma Air Station.

Maehara has a little of everything, with flashing lights and neon making the nightly call to night clubs, bars, restaurants and a variety of other establishments. It is now becoming home to more sordid visitors who are tarnishing the image.

Ginowan Police this week cracked down in the Maehara district, arresting four gangsters believed to be members of the Yamaguchi Group. The family resides in Ginowan City.

Police say Mitsuhiko Misawa, along with three other gangsters, brought four young girls, ages 16~24, to Okinawa from the Osaka area, then forced them into prostitution at his club. The four, described by authorities as “three girls and one adult lady” were allegedly being made to work as call girls, serving 10~20 customers per night.

One, police say, made ¥100,000 in an evening for the gang members, but only paid the girl ¥1,000 a day for food.

The underage prostitution came to light after four months when one of the four escaped, went to a police station and asked for help. Police say they were shocked to learn what was happening in their community.

They say the girls were not allowed any days off, and shared the same apartment. Police say the girls were kept together, and picked up daily by gang members and taken to the duty locations. Aside from not having money, the girls told police they’d been threatened with death if they tried to run away.

The girls were run aways to begin with, in the Osaka area. Reports say the girls initially partied, but then turned to Sarakin Company for loans when they ran out of money. That’s when they encountered the seedy side of the Yamaguchi Group. When the girls didn’t have money to pay the host club in Osaka, they were forced to take the loans, then turned over to the gang, which brought them to Okinawa.

Pressures of being kept in captivity for four months finally forced the girls to risk escape. They did, but are also in jail now. Police have charged the girls with prostitution.

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