|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Teeny-bopper deri-heru hanky-panky -- the best little jail bait in Saitama 2008,03,15
Shukan Taishu 3/24 By Masuo Kamiyama
There's nothing particularly new about the problem of "enjo-kosai" -- or "compensated dating," as teen prostitution has been euphemistically referred to by its practitioners since first observed around 1990.
But even Shukan Taishu (3/24) was aghast over the events that took place in Kuki City, Saitama Prefecture, last month.
On Feb. 21, the city's juvenile police section pounced on -- sorry, let's make that "apprehended" -- a 17-year-old girl we'll call "Eiko," on suspicion of violating the several statutes related to abetting prostitution by minors.
Police allege that over a period of two months, Eiko and several male cohorts operated a ring that peddled three girls, all runaways, to an estimated 70 johns, who paid approximately 1.6 million yen for sex.
The system was set up as a "deri-heru" (delivery health, i.e. outcall sex), with Eiko's male confederates driving the teen hookers to hotels for assignations with waiting johns.
The men also served as the girls' bodyguards.
"The johns paid 30,000 to 50,000 yen a session," said the police source.
"The girl's share of the take ranged from 5,000 to 10,000 yen." Peanuts, considering the nature of the work involved.
Eiko's profitable arrangement had operators of professional "delivery health" services shaking their heads in astonishment.
According to Shukan Taishu, Eiko -- a runaway and hooker herself -- started as a rank-and-file floozy,achieved some upward mobility and moved up to managing madame.
Using a cell phone to oversee operations, she worked out of the home of a 22-year-old construction worker with whom she cohabited, and who was also arrested.
"All together she recruited three runaway girls via her cell phone, ages 13, 14 and 15," says the police source.
Reiji Toono, author of romantic novels read by teenage girls, including one titled "Another Love -- The 'Enko' Life of a Middle-school Hooker," tells Shukan Taishu that such a case, of a teenage madame running teen hookers, is so rare that even he was astonished.
"It's not unusual to see a man living with a young woman force her into prostitution and rake off a portion of her earnings," says Toono.
"But it's quite remarkable for a 17-year old girl to be so astute and wind up running the operation."
"That type of self-operated teenage hooker operation is probably just the tip of a huge iceberg," says the operator of an Internet site.
"New regulations have forced the most obvious offenders, like the 'encounter' sites, to shut down or monitor activities to avoid penalties, but the compliance is merely what's visible on the surface."
The operator goes on to explain that the action has shifted to password-protected sites or blogs where the participants can exchange information.
"Even on what appears to be ordinary electronic bulletin boards, people with sex for sale will drop in special code words. Parents and teachers who review the sites for harmful contents don't really have any idea of what they're reading -- the naughty stuff is there, it's all over the place."
There is, moreover, ample evidence that girls have started selling sex from an increasingly earlier age.
"Of police busts of juvenile prostitution, the ratio is about 50-50 between middle school girls and high school girls, but for some years the middle schoolers slightly outnumber their elders," says a reporter for a nationally circulated daily.
The current law banning sex with females under age 18 provides for imprisonment of up to two years and/or a fine of up to 1 million yen for offenders.
These penalties, however, do not seem to be much of a deterrent.
"When, as an experiment, staff at a certain social research organization went into two encounter sites posing as a teenage girl, they attracted 138 private messages from men in the first hour," says the aforementioned site operator.
"Of these, 64 were blatant invitations to engage in enjo kosai."
But lust for budding young bodies has another downside for the men, as it is also making them increasingly vulnerable to entrapment and extortion by teen gangs, as well as physical assaults.
Girls in these "enko circles" tie up with boyfriends and scheme to set up commuters by tantalizing them into groping a girl on a crowded train.
"For example, a girl wearing a school uniform will intentionally rub up against some man and encourage him to grope her," explains Toono.
"Then afterwards a team of several youths will tail the man to a park or somewhere and put the squeeze on him. It's a new kind of badger game."
Since the man did, in fact, actually grope the girl on the train, the chances his being successfully extorted are even greater, since a payout of 50,000 yen is still getting off cheaper than fighting criminal charges and time in jail.
So watch out, Shukan Taishu warns its male readers.
These new teen shakedown operations -- running in packs, at ever-younger ages, and with increasingly vicious extortion methods -- portend nothing but trouble.
(By Masuo Kamiyama, contributing writer)
（Mainichi Japan） March 15, 2008