[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

SINGAPORE (Tier 1) Extracted from the U.S. State Dept 2020 TIP Report

The Government of Singapore fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government made key achievements to do so during the reporting period; therefore Singapore was upgraded to Tier 1. These achievements included convicting its first labor trafficking case under its trafficking law and increasing convictions overall. The government identified more trafficking victims and increased dialogue and cooperation with NGOs through 30 meetings throughout the year. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) prosecuted more unlicensed recruitment agencies than in the previous reporting period and the government increased its awareness activities including by expanding the mandatory 2017 “settling in program” to foreign migrant workers in three industries in addition to construction. Although the government meets the minimum standards, it did not take steps to eliminate recruitment fees charged to workers by Singaporean labor recruiters and ensure any recruitment fees are paid by employers. Additionally, NGOs continued to express concern that authorities did not fully understand the impact of indebtedness and psychological coercion on a trafficking victim, and that as a result some potential unidentified victims were subject to punishment or deportation.

Prioritized Recommendations

Using the 2015 anti-trafficking law, increase investigations and prosecutions, particularly of labor trafficking, including cases involving domestic workers, debt manipulation, or psychological coercion, and convict and sentence convicted traffickers to penalties proportionate to the seriousness of the crime.Increase resources for investigative and prosecutorial training on trafficking for MOM officials who handle labor violations.Strengthen efforts to proactively identify trafficking victims, including by conducting training for front-line law enforcement officials with a focus on screening for psychological coercion among women in commercial sex and individuals in debt.Continue to implement reforms to the work permit sponsorship system so it does not provide excessive power to sponsors or employers in granting and maintaining the legal status of migrant workers.Take steps to eliminate recruitment fees charged to workers by Singaporean labor recruiters and ensure any recruitment fees are paid by employers.Strengthen the legal framework to enhance protection for victims from punishment for unlawful acts the trafficker compelled the victim to commit.Develop formal policies to provide all victims the right to robust protective services.Continue to strengthen cooperation and dialogue with NGOs for developing and implementing anti-trafficking policies and assisting victims.