NAGOYA--A social networking app for smartphones using the global positioning system (GPS) to meet and scope out people nearby is being used by men to prey on girls for sex.
In recent months, Aichi prefectural police have arrested two men for paying teenagers for sex after meeting them through the app.
The arrests show that, though the app is convenient for allowing users to find people nearby and chat with them, it can also be used as a tool for illicit means.
The app developer is promoting its downloading, saying, “You can chat with handsome men nearby. You can use this app to find your future partners, make friends in your neighborhood and look for a boyfriend or girlfriend.”
A different site, which shows methods of picking up girls, says, “It is a useful app for pick-up artists.” It also says, “As there are many cute girls, send (e-mail) messages to them.”
The app is offered free of charge, and no age limit is imposed on the users. When a user registers his or her information, such as gender, age and photo, similar information of registered people in his or her neighborhood appear on the screen due to the GPS. The closer a registered user is, the higher he or she appears on the screen.
The user can choose his or her favorite persons from those on the screen and can institute chats with them.
In the period from May to June this year, the Aichi prefectural police arrested two men on suspicion of having sex with female junior or senior high school students by promising them money.
One of the two was a 26-year-old company employee in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture. The other was a 20-year-old male university student in Toyokawa, also in the prefecture. Their alleged acts constitute violations of the Child Prostitution and Child Pornography Prohibition Law.
According to prefectural police, the 26-year-old man told a third-year student of a junior high school in a chat, “I want you to sell your underwear to me.” After that, the two exchanged e-mail addresses, and promised to meet that day.
The next day, he had sex with the girl for 25,000 yen (about $313).
“Since I installed the app (in my smartphone) in February, I have had sex with four or five women,” he was quoted by police as saying.
“It was the first time that application software was used as a tool to meet women (for sex),” said an executive of the Aichi prefectural police.
An Asahi Shimbun reporter tested the app in the Sakae entertainment district of Nagoya, where there are many young people out and about.
When the reporter registered his information in the app, photos of about 40 people in the vicinity appeared on the screen. About 80 percent of them were apparently men.
Exact distances between the reporter and the 40 people were unknown. According to the app’s instructions, the closest one appears in the top left corner.
When the reporter clicked on one of the 40 users, the person’s personal information, such as name, age and self-introductory message, appeared.
Many of the 40 people were in their 20s. But four of them were aged between 11 and 16 years old.
There should be a law that restrict GPS usage and access, especially when underage kids is involved......or is there already?