Fu-terrace provides free consultation to hostesses and other sex workers in need by offering them a team of attorneys and social workers who can help to address the legal and social issues they face in their lives. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to any woman who seeks our help while guaranteeing their confidentiality.
Our mission is to create a safe avenue for sex workers to seek help without feeling the need to hide their professional identity. Since launching our services in 2015, we have helped more than 7,000 women. Many sex workers struggle with a wide range of issues, including economic hardship, debt, mental illness, domestic violence, sexual violence, and being filmed or photographed without permission. Yet, many feel isolated and are unable to seek and find help. By providing these vulnerable women with the social welfare and legal assistance they need, we aim to create a more inclusive society where no one is left behind.
Sex work in Japan and what “Fu-terrace” means
Sex work can refer to a variety of services depending on the political, social and cultural circumstances of the country. In the case of Japan, where prostitution involving sexual intercourse is illegal, a large sex work industry has developed to offer a wide range of sexual services other than sexual intercourse. Such services can include offering of oral sex to masturbation as well as conversation partners at nightclubs known as “host clubs” or “hostess clubs” (which may not involve any physical sexual relationship). In Japanese, a distinction is therefore drawn between illegal prostitution (baishun) and legal sex work (fuzoku). The “fu” in our name “Fu-terrace” is the same “fu” in “fuzoku”, reflecting our mission to help such legal sex workers, especially women.
In 2022, it was estimated that 20,000 sex work establishments existed in Japan, which were estimated to have employed approximately 400,000 women. The majority of these establishments do not have a physical presence and provide services euphemistically knowns as “delivery health”; they advertise online and send sex workers to customers’ homes or to hotel rooms. Some sex workers work full-time and others work part-time while studying at universities or holding jobs outside the sex work industry. Sex work in Japan can target men, women or LGBTQ people.
It has become common among sex workers to be active on and solicit work through social media. While this fact alone does not make the Japanese sex work industry unique, Japan may be unusual in the extent to which a significant number of sex workers have gained high profile on social media, having acquiring, in some cases, tens of thousands of followers. One one hand, an ability to reach customers directly through social media can be empowering. On the other hand, such social media presence exposes sex workers to risks of defamation, being outed and other forms of online bullying, which are some of the common reasons why sex workers seek our help.
What we do
Our principal activities include the following
We provide any sex worker who seeks our help with an attorney-social worker team that can help to address her legal and social issues.
We work with a comic book artist to publish a series called “Ashita-no-jo”. Each episode, available for free, covers an issue that many sex workers experience and how to address it. Some of the issues the series have covered are as follows:
- Addressing mental health issues
- Preparing and providing proof of income
- Dealing with troublesome employers
- Handling debt and delinquent rent payments
- Quitting sex work
We publish blog posts, authored by experts, that provide practical advice on situations that sex workers often find themselves in. The blog has covered the following topics:
- Troubles with clients
- Filing tax returns
- Applying to receive public assistance
- Coping with addiction
- Online bullying
We host public or closed events to help sex workers connect with one another and inform the public about the social issues surrounding sex workers:
- Online closed meetups for sex workers so that they can share their experiences and advice on common issues
- A “night work” summit where experts are invited to discuss issues related to sex workers
- Free, open sessions where experts are available to answer questions from sex workers
We are also aware that sex workers experience economic hardships from time to time. Sex workers can apply to Fu-terrace to receive delivery of rice, snacks and instant food as well as femine products.
Our volunteer staff
We cannot do our work with paid staff only. We rely on student and adult volunteers to deliver our services to those in need. In particular, our volunteers have taken on the following responsibilities:
- Intake process when we receive inquiries from sex workers in need
- Assisting our team of attorneys and social workers providing consultation to sex workers
- Public relations for Fu-terrace and planning and organizing of events
About our Founder
Our founder Shingo Sakatsume first encountered sex workers through fieldwork he conducted as part of a seminar while a university student in the early 2000s. Through that work, he came to believe that it was not meaningful to debate the morality of sex work when sex work was not going to disappear from society. He also came to believe that society would be better by becoming more open about sex. Soon after graduating from university in 2005, at the age of 23, he became a social entrepreneur. Since then, he has sought to help people being marginalized under prevailing social norms related to sex. He has published numerous books based on fieldwork that has exposed the injustices surrounding marginalized people.
In 2015, while working on a book, Shingo encountered a number of hostesses at a hostess club who needed significant social welfare and legal help, but could not seek and find the help they desperately needed. He persuaded the club to allow him to bring in a team of attorneys and social workers, and give the women the opportunity to consult the team for free. This is the beginning of what later became Fu-terrace.
How to reach us
how to donate to us
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