Trafficking in Singapore

Reality bite: victims face challenges accessing help

images(2)“Singapore has an integrated support system. Victims can approach multiple access points, such as the police or Family Service Centres, for help” http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/only-a-minority-of-labour/1437834.html

We were curious to learn of the ‘multiple access points’ for victims of trafficking. A quick check of the Ministry of Family Service website and the Family Service Centres websites reveals NO mention of the word ‘trafficking’ or services for trafficked victims including hotlines to call or addresses to approach for help.

Equally curious, frontline organisations that handle trafficked cases like HOME and TWC2 are not mentioned.

The most worrying issue, however, is a continual misconception that trafficked victims can easily turn up at Family Service Centres and police to ask for help. The reality is many trafficked victims are hampered by

(a) language barriers,

(b) distrust of authorities,

(c) their fear of being arrested and prosecuted as undocumented migrants or for working illegally as a result of being trafficked,

(d) the stigma and shame attached to sex work makes many women, and possibly men or boys reluctant to report it. Engaging in sex work can lead to arrests and prosecutions. Police raids at red light districts may intimidate trafficked victims and make them reluctant to give information about their situation.

(e) Fear of reprisals, indebtedness and threats from recruiters also silences them into submission.

In the absence of a victim centered anti-trafficking in persons law, and comprehensive social support services, it is even more difficult to encourage trafficked victims to be willing to be identified. #stoptraffickingsg

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2 thoughts on “Reality bite: victims face challenges accessing help

  1. Actually, a law against human trafficking only just took effect about a day ago. Before this, everybody behaved as though such things never existed. But thank God, at least some thing has been started and I applaud the minister Christopher de Souza for his very sincere efforts and contributions in this area. Perhaps one thing to look out for are the perpetrators. Where do they go? How do they operate? Where do they get their money from? What is their day job if any? These types of simple investigations can help in pinning down the pimps and put a close to their dirty business.

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