A Japanese man, his Cambodian wife and a Cambodian man were provisionally charged on Monday with human trafficking for allegedly arranging for 10 Cambodian women to go to Japan, where at least seven were forced into sex work at a restaurant, officials said.
Susumu Fukui, a 52-year-old manager at a restaurant in Phnom Penh, Lim Leakna, his 28-year-old wife, and Seng Chandy, a 34-year-old employee of the restaurant, were arrested on Saturday, according to an article posted to the National Police website.
Chiv Phally, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, said the three were provisionally charged with human trafficking, a crime that carries a prison sentence of seven to 15 years, and would be sent to court again today to be officially charged.
“The answers matched with a case of human trafficking in Japan,” he said of the three, who allegedly recruited 10 women to travel to Japan with the promise of jobs paying between $3,000 and $5,000 a month, and prepared passports for their journey.
Authorities at the Cambodian Embassy in Tokyo were alerted to the case in December when they received a Facebook message from one of the women asking for help. Within days of rescuing seven women who had been trafficked, police in Japan’s Gunma prefecture arrested three suspects with alleged ties to two hospitality venues.
The three were accused of hiring the women, aged 20 to 36, without proper visas, according to Japanese media.
It was not clear on Monday if the three other women also made the trip to Japan. The seven initially rescued have been returned to Cambodia.
The National Police article says Mr. Chandy, the restaurant employee, prepared the passports in November while Mr. Fukui, his manager, arranged the visas to Japan.
It said that when the women arrived in Japan, they were picked up by a 50-year-old Japanese man named Nakare Kabasawa.
Having their passports taken, the women were forced to have sex with men at the establishments, with the money taken by Mr. Kabasawa and his associates, the article says.