THE MOTHER and two other relatives of a 16-year-old girl have been arrested for allegedly forcing her to work as a geisha and raise money for gambling, a police spokesman in Tokyo said yesterday.
The girl's mother, Keiko Ueno, 46, her sister, Miyuki Yamazaki, 27, and her aunt, Noriko Suzuki, 56, were arrested after handing the girl over to a geisha house in Nagano, 179km (112 miles) north-west of Tokyo.
The three women allegedly took her to the geisha house on 11 June after borrowing 1 million yen (pounds 4,300) from its owners. The women told police they used the money to play pachinko, a kind of pinball game in which prizes can be exchanged for cash.
The girl, whose name was not disclosed because of her age, fled the geisha house and returned home. She later sought help from police after her mother beat her.
The 16-year-old had lived most of her life in foster care until her mother took her home earlier this year. She was returned to the fostering facility after her mother's arrest.
If convicted, the women face up to 10 years in prison, or a fine up to 500,000 yen (pounds 2,200).
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