Prostitution workers in Japan: “We fear the Corona virus, but we want a living.”


The Japanese government announced a wide-ranging economic aid package to help all workers in various fields of work, but many of those working in prostitution may not have received the aid promised, and in a detailed report prepared by Will Ripley of CNN explaining the effects of the Corona virus pandemic on a field Sex work in Japan.

Rain does not usually keep people away from Kabukicho

The red lights area in Tokyo

I remember my first visit five years ago in 2015

The cold and wet streets of this “never-to-sleep” town were always crowded

Just like the shops lined up in these dimly lit lounges

Prostitution is against the law in Japan, but everyone knows what the market really requires

It grew rapidly for 5 years until 2020

Corona virus does what the rain can’t do

Turn off the neon lights

Throughout my years in Tokyo, I’ve never seen Kabukicho with that emptiness

The streets are usually lined with women trying to lure customers into their stores The stores are now closed

Women must find other, more dangerous, ways to earn a living

A woman called her “Mika” asked us to hide her face and change her name

Her family has not known that she has been working in the sex industry for 10 years

These days with all stores closed they go directly to customers often to older men The offer is risky as the virus spreads quickly

“Of course I’m worried about my health,” says Mika, “but I’m more concerned about how I can survive. What if I can’t buy food? ”

Mika, as a young girl, wanted to be a journalist who does not conduct life in this way

Mika: “Sex workers can’t stop working,” she says, “but we don’t want to spread the virus.”

It is estimated that there are 300,000 sex workers in Japan who promised cash benefits from the government with the outbreak of the Corona virus, for each worker around $ 1,000.

Sex workers say this money will not be enough to get most of them off the streets

“There is a lot of discrimination against sex workers,” says Junichiro Kakuma, just before his child appeared.

“There are many different types of people in the sex industry, he says,

Like single mothers who need to earn money. They may be afraid of corona virus, but are more afraid of losing their jobs. ”

His non-profit organization tries to help sex workers find new jobs jobs they are not afraid to tell their families about

Jobs that will not endanger them and their children.