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Police breaks young girls’ prostitution ring in Nago

Date Posted: 2003-10-11

Nago Police have discovered a prostitution ring operating in front of a 24-hour convenience store in the northern part of Okinawa. Police Saturday arrested three girls ages 15 ~17 who worked as prostitutes, and also three women in their 30’s who had organized and were running the ring. All girls were runaways who the women had befriended.

Investigators say the three women, who themselves had worked as prostitutes before, decided that it was easier to sell the young girls than try to find customers for themselves. They also figured the best place to find late night customers would be in front of a 24-hour convenience store, as most men who visited the shop in the night most likely were not married, were divorced or were living alone for some other reason.

The convenience store was also the place where they met the girls as they loitered around after school without going home. The women taught the girls how to pick up men who came shopping late at night. The men paid the girls ¥15,000 each but the older women took most of the money, giving the girls only ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 for each customer.

Investigators say that Ayumi Yogi, the alleged leader of the group, told them when questioned that she needed money because of gambling debts. “I spent all my money for gambling, but I did take care of those young girls. I let them stay in my house as they did not have a place to go, and I did feed them,” Yogi reportedly told the police.

Investigators believe that the current ring has been operating from July through September this year, but they suspect the women have been involved in other similar activities before. “That’s the only way I can understand how they could afford their current lifestyle,” one inspector said.

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