The illegal scouting companies behind the “dekasegi sex workers” that currently support brothels in Japan’s regional cities. Following on from Part 1: “Dekasegi Sex Workers: Closely Linked to Illegal Scouts,” we will now take a look at the inside story.
The advantage of going to a rural area to work in the sex industry alone may seem small for women. There are obviously fewer customers in the countryside than in the city, and the customer price is not high. Why do these women go to strange places to sell their bodies?
The advantages for women are as follows.
While they are working for a short period of time, they are treated as “newcomers” by the stores, which increases the number of nominations.
The scout company will negotiate minimum guarantees and travel expenses.
When your “rookie” period is over, you can go back to another area and work as a “rookie” again.
I want to work in a place where I don’t know anyone because semi-nude photos of my face will be used in advertisements.
I am only here for a short time, so I don’t have to be conscious of repeat customers.
The store will provide a dormitory as a place to live.
Escalating demands of scouts
Local brothels cannot operate without migrant sex workers.
Scout companies take advantage of this and demand that they send the girls to them and provide them with a clean dormitory (apartment), a minimum guarantee of 50,000 yen per day, or that they be marketed as “big newcomers” to the industry. Therefore, the working conditions for dekasegi sex workers are rising rapidly.
In order to keep the store running, the manager follows the instructions from the scout company, but there is a big pitfall. All the cast members may become migrant sex workers.
For example, let’s say there are 10 cast members in the store. Let’s say there are 10 cast members and 7 of them are migrant sex workers. Since dekasegi sex workers have a minimum guarantee, the store must have them work a lot to collect the guarantee.
Suppose the minimum guarantee is 30,000 yen.
In this case, the store would lose money if the dekasegi sex workers do not get at least six customers a day. Therefore, they desperately try to get free customers and recommend nomination.
In such a store, only the dekasegi sex worker will get work, and other cast members who do not have the minimum guarantee will not get any customers. If the latter quit, the store would have to hire more migrant sex workers. So, in the blink of an eye, all the cast members become dekasegi sex workers.
If 100% of the store’s cast members become dekasegi sex workers, the power of the scouting company will increase. This means that the demands from the scout companies will increase. Raising the minimum guarantee, demanding transfer fees, and upgrading dormitories …….
In this way, you can see how local sex stores are getting stuck in a vicious circle by using scouting companies.
Toru Haseida (pseudonym), who runs a delivery health service called “Pai” in Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture, says the following.
Nowadays, the sex industry has become an unprofitable business. Due to the aging of customers, the recession, and the COVID-19 crisis, the number of customers has decreased by 70-80% compared to a short time ago.
But if you use a scouting company, in addition to the minimum guarantee of several tens of thousands of yen per customer, the store has to provide an expensive dormitory and take care of everything, including cleaning. If you pay the store’s expenses, advertising costs, dormitory fees, etc., there is hardly any profit left.
There are many stores that use migrant workers in order to keep the store running, but they eventually become a burden and go out of business,” he said.
Haseida’s store is one of the few in the Oyama area that does not use a scout company. This is possible because of Haseada’s efforts.
He has been studying SEO strategies and creating his own website by programming it himself. He also creates his own advertisements in print media and submits them digitally. This is why he is able to gather his own cast members.
On the other hand, many stores are run by hired managers, who do not feel the need to make that much effort. Therefore, they use scouting companies, and this leads to a loss of business.
In the local adult entertainment industry, new stores are now being targeted by scouting companies.
Older establishments can avoid the risk because they have a certain number of cast members and regular customers, and they understand the pitfalls of using scout agencies.
However, a manager who is new to the market is not familiar with such internal conditions and does not have the ability to gather cast members on his or her own. Hence, they use scouting companies and consider it an initial investment and allow themselves to lose money.
Countdown to Collapse
This is the countdown to collapse.
In the current recession of the sex industry, the number of customers is limited. Nevertheless, scouting companies keep sending migrant sex workers and squeezing out the opening capital. It is inevitable that the operating capital will run out at some point.
This is the reason why new stores are going bankrupt one after another in the countryside.
How do these scouting companies conduct their illegal business?
Generally, scouting companies call themselves “sex industry consulting companies,” “personnel dispatch companies,” “event companies,” and so on. They hide the fact that they are sending migrant sex workers to local areas, and they receive money from the stores in the form of “consulting fees. In other words, they are laundering money.
Recently, there has been a phenomenon of these scouting companies opening their own brothels.
Their strengths are abundant financial resources, information on local sex industry, and abundant human resources. After sucking up all the profits from local brothels and driving them into bankruptcy, they open a directly managed brothel in the same location.
As a scouting company, they let migrant sex workers work at their own store, so they do not need to pay 10%-15% scouting back. The minimum guarantee, transportation costs, and dormitory expenses can also be kept at their discretion. What’s more, they can launder the money they earn from the scouting business by turning it into sex industry sales.
Haseida says, “In the future, scouting companies will be able to run their own businesses.
In the future, the number of sex stores run by scouting companies may increase in the provinces. When that happens, the way of local brothels will be completely different from what it is now. A completely new type of business or service may appear.
However, I do not know if the cast members will be able to make money. The reality is that even now, very few people can make a living as a full-time worker, and most of them have a day job as well,” he said.
With the organizational power of a scouting company, it is not a dream to make a large profit. In fact, long-established local establishments have been destroyed by them.
However, it has been a long time since the sex industry became an unprofitable profession. It is not unusual for dekasegi women to have a day job on weekdays and work in the region only on weekends for one or two days and nights. Even if they live in the area, it is common for them to work a regular job during the day and work as a sex worker only at night or on holidays.
In the past it was debt, now it is a normal job
In the past, there were girls who worked desperately to pay off their debts, but after the Wage Business Law was amended in 2006 to allow them to borrow only one-third of their annual income, such girls suddenly disappeared.
Now they are all girls who work a regular job during the day and work in the sex industry at night because there is nothing to do at home alone. Most of them are lonely girls who are somewhere in their hearts. They want to complain to me, the manager, about their day job and feel relieved when I pat them on the head. It seems that many of them feel at ease when I give them a body touch. I feel that they come to the sex industry not for money, but for emotional care.
There may be various problems behind the loneliness these women are suffering. However, it is the scout companies that are taking advantage of this situation and dominating the local sex industry.
To what extent will the scouting companies use migrant sex workers to expand their power? What will change as a result?
What is clear is that without their illegal activities, the local sex industry would not exist today.
The series “Young Homeless” is looking for people in their 10s to 40s who have no permanent place to live. We are looking for the real-life experiences of people who have lost their housing, either now or in the past, such as those living in cars, Internet cafe refugees, migrant sex workers, day laborers living in dormitories, hotel dwellers, store dwellers, and those living in support facilities, as well as those who are providing support for these people. Anonymous or other conditions are acceptable, so please contact the author.
Kota Ishii (Author)
Interview, text, and photography： Kota Ishii
Born in Tokyo in 1977. Nonfiction writer. Graduated from Nihon University College of Art. He has reported and written about culture, history, and medicine in Japan and abroad. His books include "Kichibu" no Ie - Wagakko wo Kajiru Oyasato Tachi" ("The House of 'Demons' - Parents Who Kill Their Children"), "43 Kichibu no Kakurai" ("43 Killing Intent - The Depths of the Kawasaki Junior High School Student Murder Case"), "Rental Child," "Kinship Murder," and "Gap and Division in Society.