This is an account of the case of Xiao Hui (name changed to protect the victim’s identity) as told by her to HOME. She was flagged as a victim of sex trafficked victim on 4 September 2015 as her case has satisfied 3 strong indicators (shown in bold below) and 2 medium indicators (shown in italics below) of Trafficking of Adults for Sexual Exploitation as established by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Per the ILO, 2 strong indicators or 3 medium indicators would establish a case to be that of human trafficking.
The case is currently pending assessment.
Xiao Hui had come to Singapore for a job waitressing and selling alcohol in a pub. She had separated from her husband and was the sole breadwinner for her family consisting of her daughter and mother. She was told that her employer would provide accommodation for her at no cost, and that she could earn extra money from receiving tips for clients. In order to obtain this job and come to Singapore, she had to first pay a large sum of money and had borrowed RMB 20,000 (est. SGD$4167) to do so.
Upon arriving at Singapore, she discovered to her horror that she was required to dress skimpily and perform on stage for the pub clientele. She had to behave seductively towards clients. She found the requirements unacceptable and that she had been deceived about the nature of her job. Her passport was confiscated by her employer upon arrival.
Any tips she earned was also used towards fulfilling her “quota” set by the pub; there was no extra money to be made. She was informed that she had to pay a monthly rent of $470 to her employer when her basic monthly salary was $700. She was not allowed to look for her own accommodation. As such, she only earned $230 in her first month. The company manipulated her wages/earnings.
She was also told that after the first month of work, she would need to bring in a certain amount of profit for the pub by meeting unrealistic monthly sales targets. In addition to that, she was required to have a client book a table under her name every day. Should she fail to meet her targets and requirements, she would suffer financial penalties in the form of salary deduction. Her managers had repeatedly told her that she would need to “catch” clients and give them a good time to earn extra income. In order to meet the targets as set by the employer, she was expected to sleep with her clients. When she wanted to leave the job, she was told that she would need to pay her employer S$5000 should she terminate her contract within the first 6 months. This puts Xiao Hui in a situation of debt bondage.
She did not want to do so, but felt immensely pressured as she had incurred mounting debts and had to provide for her family. This is an abuse of the victim’s difficult family situation.