Dekasegi Sex Workers” who move from one region to another: A Special Background of Close Relationship with Illegal Scouts
Nonfiction writer Kota Ishii takes a close look at the reality of the "young homeless," young people who have lost their homes!
Today, it is said that brothels in Japan’s regional cities would not be possible without dekasegi sex workers.
Dekasegi sex workers are literally women who go to work at sex establishments all over the country.
They stay in one local city for a few weeks or even a few days to earn money, and then either move on to another local city or return to the city and live as if nothing had happened to them. They live in the dormitories of brothels. Such are the wandering sex workers.
In fact, the system of these brothels is supported by scout companies, which are supposed to be illegal. And now, the brothels in local cities are about to enter a completely new era, thanks to these scouting companies.
This article follows the front lines of dekasegi sex workers and the scouting companies that work behind the scenes.
Changes in Recruitment since the 1980s
Today, most of the sex workers in local cities are dekasegi sex workers who have come from outside the prefecture.
As we will explain later, if a store hires a migrant sex worker, it will have to hire one more, and in the end, all the cast members will be migrant sex workers.
Therefore, if there are 10 brothels in a town, 8 to 9 of them have almost all of their cast members as migrant sex workers. How did this happen?
To know the answer, we first need to look at the actual situation of jobs in the sex industry.
Until around the 1980s, brothels used three-line advertisements in sports newspapers to advertise jobs. Women looked for jobs there and applied for them. The role of the brothel manager was to make the brothel look like an attractive place to work in three lines.
The tide changed in 1992 with the launch of the first issue of “Tinkle,” a sex industry job magazine. The job hunting that had been done through sports newspapers was replaced by job magazines specializing in sex industry.
About 10 years later, in the mid-1900s, many stores changed their business model from store-based to delivery health services, and began to open their own websites that could be viewed even with mobile phones.
The sex store posted job advertisements on the store’s website. For example, if a woman searches for “Utsunomiya delicatessen,” a list of stores will appear in a row by category. From there, they could apply for jobs at the store they wanted to work at.
The Internet became popular in the 1990s, and by that time, most of the general part-time jobs had shifted to the Internet. In this way, it seems that the transition to the Internet is a little late for sex industry.
However, it is said that new winds blow into the night business, including the sex industry, five years later than into the daytime business. In this sense, it may be reasonable to say that in the mid-00s, the shift of job offers to the Internet was a good thing.
The problem was what came after.
As the decade progressed, many people switched from mobile phones to smartphones. Normally, stores would set up smartphone sites and advertise jobs there.
However, the smartphone era requires more advanced SEO measures than the mobile phone era. In the previous example, a simple search for “Utsunomiya delicatessen” is not enough to find a store’s website. As a result, stores that cannot afford to spend money on SEO measures can no longer attract job seekers through their websites.
How to confuse the viewer
Toru Haseida (pseudonym), who runs Pai, a delivery helthouse in Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture, says the following.
Originally, when a deli-help store advertised jobs on its website, there was an element of confusion for the viewer. A store may have only one office, but in order to attract customers, it may appear on its website as if it has offices in several different areas.
In Tokyo, for example, the office is in Shinjuku, but they make it look like it is in Ikebukuro or Ueno. If a girl browses a website and applies for a job with the intention of working at a store in Ueno, but is told by the store that the office is in Shinjuku, she will think that the story is different, won’t she?
In addition to this kind of incomprehensibility, the age of smartphones has made it even more difficult to search for a store. Girls no longer try to look for jobs on store websites because it is difficult to search for a store and they are not sure where the office is located.
There are sex industry job sites on the Web, but it costs a certain amount of money to post a job. A group of multiple stores in an urban area will pay several million yen to attract a large number of cast members, but a privately owned shop in a rural area may not be able to attract that many.
However, a privately owned store in a rural area does not have that kind of expense. Furthermore, women living in rural areas, where the birthrate is declining and the population aging, do not want to work at local establishments, so even if they advertise on job sites, they will not attract enough applicants to cover the cost.
In such an era, scouting companies, which gather women through illegal scouting and introduce them to stores, gradually became more and more powerful.
Scouting companies have existed for a long time, but from the early to mid-1900s they came under strict control due to violations of the Employment Security Law and the Ordinance on Prevention of Unwanted Activities. If found scouting, they could be arrested and fined.
Nevertheless, the black market traders will still do what they can to get around the police if there is a demand for it. They have begun to turn their attention to local brothels, which are suffering from a shortage of human resources, and to profit by having the prostitutes they have obtained through scouting migrate to the area.
Scouting is an illegal activity, and there are various methods. The most common method is to approach women on the streets of downtown or in stores, but recently online scouting using social networking services has become more popular. Scouts are often persuaded to work at local brothels by offering favorable terms and conditions.
Why scouts account for 10 to 15% of the total number of sex workers
An editor of a sex industry information site said, “Online scouting is a way to get girls to work in the sex industry.
The online scout’s usual tactic is to find women in the sex industry or water business on social networking sites, send them a DM, offer them favorable conditions, and say, ‘This one is better than the one you’re working at now. It is common to invite them. If the girl is popular, a transfer fee may be paid.
There are also cases where hosts work as scouts as a side job, or black-clad workers at brothels and cabarets introduce people to scouting companies behind the scenes. In some cases, large scouting companies run their own cabarets or soft sex clubs and send girls who gather there to work at local sex clubs.
The reason scouting is viable even though it is illegal is that it has major advantages.
First, sex workers have the backing of scouts. Scouts negotiate with the brothels to increase their commission, give them a minimum guarantee, and help them out if they have any problems. They are very reliable.
On the other hand, local stores also have the advantage of being able to attract cast members by using a scouting company. Of course, there is a price to pay. The breakdown is roughly as follows.
Customer’s payment (sales) = 10,000 yen
The cast member’s share = 6,000 yen (50-60%)
Scout company’s share (scout’s back) = 1,000 yen (10-15%)
The store’s share = 3,000 yen (30%)
The store must pay 10-15% of the sales as long as the cast members introduced by the scout company continue to earn money.
Whether this is considered a high or low cost for job advertisement is up to the individual. However, since this is illegal, it is treated as a “consulting fee” on the paperwork.
However, the use of scouting companies is a double-edged sword for stores.
Although at first glance they appear to be convenient, behind the scenes they hide a frightening strategy. If a store falls for it, the scouting firms can rip off the profits until the store goes bankrupt.
What is going on behind the scenes of illegal scouting?
For more information on the real-life stories and the lives of the cast members who are at the mercy of the scouts, please read “Part 2”.
Part 2: The reality of illegal scouts who prey on women and the stores.
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.