Sex trade the only way for poor students to pay fees in Japan

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With the economy continuing to slump, Japanese college co-eds are continuing to feel the pinch and are being drawn into the sex trade to help pay school fees.

A recent study by the Japan Federation of Private University Teachers and Employees indicated that the average monthly allowance provided by parents to their children enrolled in a university dropped to 89,000 yen, a figure that has fallen for nine consecutive years.

A similar study conducted by the Japan Student Services Organization revealed that students taking up part-time work is on the rise.

For many college gals, Nikkan Gendai (Apr. 13) says, employment in the commercial sex industry (known by the term fuzoku) is a sure way to earn fast cash, and the evening tabloid says that the number of applicants at such shops have jumped over the past two years.

For its mostly male readership, the paper provides clues for parents to determine whether their daughters are engaged in the world’s oldest profession.

“If she is carrying two mobile phones that is a sign of employment as a hostess,” says Taizo Ebina, a writer covering the fuzoku trade. “One is specifically for her customers. Another indication is if she has two brand bags that are identical. She received both from customers, and one is to be pawned off for cash.”

For women working in “delivery health” (deri heru) out-call shops or massage joints, speech patterns in everyday conversation may also shift, with detailed knowledge of the part-time work of classmates employed in the fuzoku trade being readily at hand. But, says Ebina, there’s more.

“When walking with a family member through a place like Shibuya or Ikebukuro she’ll be wearing a breathing mask to ensure that she is not seen by a customer,” says the writer.

Everyday activities may change, too. Since deri heru girls shower very often, the application of lotion may become common to cover rough skin. They may also, under the tutelage of a boss, begin purchasing high-end shoes and underwear to improve appearances.

Ebina also says that girls working in the fuzoku trade frequently lose interest in sex in their free time. “They’ll blow off steam via online shopping,” he says. (A.T.)

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