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It has been two years now and the “massage parlors” outside the gates of American military bases here on Okinawa continue to grow. Small newspapers that are given away free on each base with authorization by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force commands continue to lure the servicemembers to their facilities, where they meet women who offer more than just your average massage. Many of these women are forced into this type of work either to pay off large debts or because they are single mothers tricked by loan sharks and forced to pay them off or face dire consequences with the local “collection agents.”

The question is, why do military officials here on Okinawa, from the inspector general to office of special investigations, continue to turn a blind eye even when they know what is happening at these facilities is in direct violation of Department of Defense regulations on human trafficking and also a health hazard, since some of these women have sexually transmitted infections — which are in turn passed on to the military community, putting innocent people at risk? Just talk to any young servicemember or look at the Internet forums and you will hear the stories. I wish these officials would explain to the military community why they continue to condone this by ignoring it.

Staff Sgt. Mike Curt

Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa

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