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Ways to combat underage prostitution demanded

Date Posted: 2002-10-04

Rapid increase in publicized cases of prostitution involving underage schoolgirls and adult men s alarming local education officials and PTA’s who are grasping for ways to counter the problem. Police, educators and parents say that the development of cell phone meeting sites makes it all too easy for the men to get in contact with these girls.

According to Okinawa Prefecture Board of Education survey, 4.3 percent of junior high school girls have called such sites and met a stranger. The girls in the survey were 13 to 17 years of age. As for reasons why the girls called the sites in the first place, 59 percent said that it seemed like fun to talk to strangers. Nine percent said that they found it’s an easy way to get money for shopping and playing. 29 percent said that they called because their friends called.

Because of recent scandals, Okinawa Prefecture Union of P.T.A.s held a demonstration in Urasoe City on Sep. 30. Over 2,500 demonstrators carried signboards and handed out pamphlets appealing to citizens to take action against prostitution by minors. Mostly the demonstrators blamed on adults. “We have to protect our children. Specifically adults should show higher moral conduct. Ethical standard in modern society are missing,” read a flyer handed out by demonstrators. They also demanded that teachers should take a hard look at the mirror and strive for higher moral standards.

Kosei Maeda, the chairman of the Citizens’ Committee for the Wholesome Growth of Urasoe City Youth said that adults should be vigilant. “We should bear our responsibility and discipline our children when we notice the first signs of them heading to a wrong direction. And we should give them credit where its due,” Maeda said.

Urasoe City Board of Education Chairman Yasuko Yoza called for cooperation. “The government, families, social workers, educators, everyone should come together to combat this problem. Together we can some up with solutions to protect our children,” Yoza said.

The consensus among demonstrators was that it’s up to adults to straighten things up. They also agreed that as technology develops, it becomes increasingly easy for strangers to meet, and new ideas are sorely required.

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