Prostitute sends a cry for help
Thursday 07 October 1993
'I am a prisoner of the yakuza (gangsters), and forced into prostitution. This is hell on earth,' she wrote in a letter to her father. 'If you lose contact with me, you will know I have been killed.'
The letter, written in Thai, was apparently smuggled out of the brothel by one of the woman's clients, and had a postmark from Osaka, Japan's second largest city. A facsimile of the letter appeared in the Yomiuri newspaper, with the woman's name deleted - police fear her captors might kill her if they realise police are looking for her.
The case highlights the growing sex trade between South-east Asia and Japan, which is controlled by underworld syndicates able to circumvent the Japanese police and the immigration service. Sources in Bangkok estimate some 70,000 Thai women are working as prostitutes in Japan, many of them lured into the trade against their will with offers of jobs as maids or factory workers. Once in Japan their passports are confiscated, and speaking no Japanese and often no English, they are at the mercy of gangsters who run the sex trade.
The woman, 31, comes from Nan province in Thailand. The last time her family heard from her was August 1992, when she was preparing to go to Singapore, where a job placement agency had supposedly found her a job as a maid. She said she would send money to her relatives, who are subsistence farmers.
Instead she was taken to Japan, where she was brought in on a false visa and then 'sold' to gangsters, who took her passport. After a drive of 'about two hours' in a van with no windows she was pushed into a bar where she has been confined ever since.
According to her letter, she is not allowed out, cannot get to a telephone, and fears that if she tries to escape, 'I will be murdered'. The letter was posted in March and reached her father in April. He gave it to a Japanese businessman in Thailand, along with a photograph of his daughter. This was given to the Japanese police, who are trying to find the woman.
The letter gives the name of the bar, and says it is on an island. There are no other details. The letter ends: 'I want to go back to Thailand and live in freedom.'
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
16 Waitrose customers who could not cope with the end of free coffee
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...