TOKYO - A fortune teller in Japan has been ordered to pay $850,000 in damages to a female client she forced into prostitution, local media reported.
Tokyo District Court ruled that the clairvoyant brainwashed the woman into believing she owed her money, forcing her to pay off the debt by working in the sex industry and then pocketing nearly all of her income, some 90 million yen (S$1.2 million).
The psychic, who was not identified in media reports, reportedly convinced her victim to move into an apartment she owned and then ordered her to work as a prostitute to pay rent and other costs.
"The fortune teller fuelled the woman's fears by leading her to believe that she owed her a lot of money," presiding judge Sotaro Tomuro said in his ruling on Wednesday.
The victim, who had sought 100 million yen in damages, started seeing the fortune teller in 2008 and came to depend on her advice, media reports said.
By 2011 she have moved into the flat and started working in the sex industry, which reportedly lasted until 2013.
The fortune teller sometimes left the women to live on the equivalent of just $1 (S$1.45) a day, the court heard.