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Stoptraffickingsg coalition responses to the draft Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill

The draft of the proposed Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill was finally released to the public yesterday after the first reading of the bill. See http://www.parliament.gov.sg/sites/default/files/Prevention%20of%20Human%20Trafficking%20Bill%2039-2014.pdf

Our response to the draft is as below,

“On behalf of the six non-governmental organisations that have organised the StopTraffickingSG! Campaign (HOME, AWARE, Maruah, Project X, Singapore Committee for UN Women and TWC2), we are pleased that the draft Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill has been brought before Parliament for subsequent debate. We note that the Bill, as it is, recognises the need to protect victims of trafficking.

However, we are concerned that the protection and assistance outlined in the draft Bill may not address the needs of trafficked victims. For example, the protection of the trafficked victim’s identity seems to be extended only to sexually exploited trafficked victims. Furthermore, apart from the provision of temporary shelter and counselling services, which are indeed needed by trafficked victims, there should be a more comprehensive victim-centric approach that must include the following:

1) Victims have the right to accommodation, food, counselling services, legal aid, medical treatment, compensation and social support while their case is ongoing

2) Victims are not prosecuted for being an undocumented immigrant or for working ‘illegally’ or for any illegal immigration infractions inadvertently committed while being trafficked; and

3) Victims have the right to work and a decent income while their case is ongoing

Based on our work with victims of trafficking, we call for a more victim-centric bill that can provide adequate support and protection to victims, so that they are enabled and encouraged to identify and testify against their traffickers.” #stoptraffickingsg

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