Booklet highlights rise in teen prostitution

6th June 1997 at 01:00
JAPAN: Two Tokyo teachers are hoping to highlight the growing problem of teen prostitution with the publication of booklets describing young women's experiences.

"Prostitution under the name of enjo-kosai (dating in return for gifts) is spreading much faster than adults think. We want people to know it is an urgent problem," said the teachers, identified only by their pen-names Chiyuki Tanigawa and Arika Shimamura.

The women, who are school counsellors, discovered girls as young as 14 were being used by "dating clubs" where men pay to chat to girls on the telephone and in some cases arrange to have sex. According to a local government survey in Tokyo, an average of one in 30 middle and high school students have participated in enjo-kosai. About a quarter of the female students aged from 12 to 15 surveyed said they had taken part in telephone chat clubs.

The desire to own imported brand-name goods is one reason they take up prostitution. And there is no shortage of men willing to pay Pounds 250 for a date, or more, with a school-age girl.

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