HOME commends Mr Christopher De Souza MP and the Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking in Persons (“the Taskforce”) on the proposed introduction of dedicated anti-human trafficking legislation (“the Bill”). HOME is hopeful that the Bill is a positive step towards Singapore’s ratification of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (“the Protocol”)
It is our position that for the Bill to be effective, inclusion of victims’ rights (victim-centered approach) is critical.
The Rationale for a Victim-Centered Approach
1. Ensure detection and prosecution of traffickers and trafficking-related crimes
Without guaranteeing the safety and the livelihood of victims of trafficking, they will not have the ability to report, identify and testify against their traffickers.
2. Align Singapore’s laws with international standards
The inclusion of victims’ rights in the anti-trafficking legal framework is a widely adopted international practice. A clear framework to protect victims of trafficking in Singapore strengthens relations with our neighbours, who are the main source countries of victims trafficked through and to Singapore.
3. Comply with the Palermo Protocol
Articles 6 to 8 of the Protocol mandate States Parties to assist and protect victims of human trafficking. The inclusion of victims’ rights will ensure our effective compliance with the Protocol.
4. Protect those whose human rights are violated in Singapore
As a transit and destination country for human trafficking, Singapore has a duty to protect the dignity and human rights of victims.
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