Human trafficking in Singapore

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According to the US Government's Trafficking in Person's Report, Singapore is a destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Some women from India, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the People’s Republic of China who travel to Singapore voluntarily for prostitution or work are subsequently deceived or coerced into sexual servitude. A significant number of foreign domestic workers in Singapore face the unlawful confiscation of their travel documents, restrictions on their movement, confinement, and/or physical or sexual abuse.[1] U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 2" in 2017.[2]


Human trafficking is defined as a hidden crime that shows very low indicators of the crime even occurring. The people that get drawn into trafficking are usually forced into the trade by fraud and coercion because they are emotionally, psychologically, or economically vulnerable.[3]


The Singaporean Government follows the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which works with other pre existing trafficking laws and makes benefits available to victims of trafficking.[4] Although Singapore does not have specific laws to prevent trafficking it has laws that protect people that may be in the world of human trafficking. Some of these laws are the Women's Charter, Children and Young Persons' Act, and the Penal code. The Women's Charter is an act "to provide for monogamous marriages and for the solemnization and registration of such marriages; to amend and consolidate the law relating to divorce, the rights and duties of married persons, the protection of family, the maintenance of wives and children and the punishment of offences against women and girls; and to provide for matters incidental thereto".[5] The Children and Young Persons' Act protects the welfare, care and protection of children and young persons by making homes safe and any other laws protecting children and young persons are consolidated within this act.[6] The Penal code though does not make using 16- and 17-year-olds a criminal act, but criminalizes the majority forms of human trafficking.[7]


The codes already in effect in Singapore have a series of consequences. The Prevention of Human Trafficking Act which took effect on 1 March 2015[8] makes all forms of human trafficking illegal and has penalties of up to 10 years' in jail and fines up to 100,000 Singapore dollars. Some other consequences include even more fines along with the initial fine of trafficking.[9] As the first case of imprisonment under the Act, Muhammad Khairulanwar Rohmat, a 25-year old final-year student at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), was found guilty and sentenced on 19 February 2016 of four charges of recruiting a child for sexual exploitation, receiving payment from this exploitation, and sexual penetration of a minor, alongside 14 charges that were taken into consideration. He was sentenced to six years and three months’ jail and fined S$30,000.[10]


The Singaporean government's Ministry of Manpower tries to give out prevention information and raise awareness of trafficking. The Ministry of Manpower prints information on employee's rights and police hotline numbers, and mails newsletters with employee's rights on it to deter trafficking.[7]


  1. ^ "Singapore". Trafficking in Persons Report 2008. U.S. Department of State (June 4, 2008). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Trafficking in Persons Report 2017: Tier Placements". Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  3. ^ "What Is Human Trafficking? | Homeland Security". Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  4. ^ "Trafficking Victims Protection Act". Fight Slavery Now!. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  5. ^ "Singapore Statutes Online - Results". Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  6. ^ "Singapore Statutes Online - Results". Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  7. ^ a b " | Singapore". Archived from the original on 2015-10-31. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  8. ^ "Prevention of Human Trafficking Act to Take Effect from 1 March 2015". Ministry of Home Affairs. Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Singapore". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  10. ^ Siau, Ming En. "Student pimp first to be convicted under Prevention of Human Trafficking Act". Today. Retrieved 20 February 2016.