Public Consultation on the “Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill”
a. Prevention. We actively train our frontline officers to identify victims and traffickers at our borders. We also work with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on referral of cases and victim identification on the ground. In addition, we have co-funded conferences to help businesses better appreciate the implications of TIP in their supply chain management, and initiatives to heighten the general public awareness of TIP for crime reporting.
b. Prosecution. Currently, we have provisions in various statutes (e.g. Penal Code, Children and Young Persons Act, Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, Employment Act, Employment Agencies Act, Women’s Charter and the Human Organ Transplant Act) to criminalise acts that may be related to human trafficking. These laws are reviewed regularly for relevance. At the whole-of-Government level, there are also specialist and dedicated enforcement and prosecution teams to deal with TIP cases.
c. Protection. We take a victim-centric approach in dealing with persons who may have been victimised by TIP. The Government partners civil society organisations and other entities to provide accommodation, food, medical care, counselling and other services (including facilitating temporary employment through the Temporary Job Scheme) to victims of TIP.
d. Partnerships. TIP is a transnational crime. Tackling it effectively requires proactive collaboration with other countries and stakeholders. We continue to develop close partnerships with regional and international partners and work with them to tackle TIP.
a. Serve as a deterrent piece of legislation. Penalties should adequately reflect the severity of TIP offences.
b. Offer greater protection to victims and be gender neutral. Both men and women should be considered victims if in the same situation.
c. Consent of the victim not be an impediment to enforcement. Even if the victim agrees to being exploited, the perpetrator should still be taken to task if the elements of TIP are present.
d. Catch acts of trafficking that occur within Singapore (even if a trafficked person only transits through Singapore) and acts of trafficking perpetuated by Singaporeans overseas.
- We intend to introduce the following definition for trafficking in persons, as based on the UN TIP Protocol –
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
- As referred to above, this definition consists of 3 components:
a. the act (recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons);b. the means (the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person); andc. the purpose (for exploitation).
- What do you understand by human trafficking, and how would you define it?
- Is the UN definition comprehensive enough to cover all forms of what we may deem trafficking in persons?
- Under the UN TIP Protocol the “exploitative purpose” component includes “forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude”. We will refer to TIP acts for the purpose of these types of exploitation broadly as “labour trafficking”.
- The intent is for the Bill to criminalise acts such as:
- Selling, buying and hiring of persons for the purpose of labour trafficking.
- Abducting persons for the purpose of labour trafficking.
- What are some acts which should be considered labour trafficking? What are some acts that should not fall into this category?
- Under the UN TIP Protocol, the “exploitative purpose” component includes “the exploitation of the prostitution of other or other forms of exploitation”. We will refer to TIP acts for the purpose of these types of exploitation broadly as “sex trafficking”.
- The intent is for the Bill to criminalise acts such as:
- Buying, selling, and having possession of a person for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
- Abducting a person to compel the person into sexual exploitation.
- What are some acts that should be considered sex trafficking? What are some acts that should not fall into this category?
- Under the UN TIP Protocol, the “exploitative purpose” component includes “the removal of organs”. We will refer to TIP acts for the purpose of this type of exploitation as “organ trafficking”, although it is important to note that TIP refers to the trafficking of the persons and not trafficking of organs themselves.
- The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA) currently prohibits and criminalises organ trading. The new Bill will provide for enhanced penalties for persons involved in the removal of organs from trafficked persons, as well as the buying or selling of trafficked persons for the purpose of exploitation by the removal of their organs.
- What are some acts that should be considered exploitation of trafficked persons by the removal of organs? What are some acts that should not fall into this category?
- For the purpose of the Bill, persons under 18 will be considered children. Trafficking in children will not require the “means” component to be made out, i.e. proving the “act” and “purpose” components will be sufficient to classify it an act of trafficking. Trafficking in children will also attract aggravated penalties, commensurate with the vulnerability of the victim and the heinousness of the crime.
- How should we prevent more heinous types of trafficking such as child trafficking?
- Victim protection is a key pillar of Singapore’s work to combat trafficking in persons. Detection, in particular, is central to effective remedy, and is particularly important if we intend to catch trafficking cases passing through Singapore.
- It is not our intent to hardwire too many protection measures in the law that would limit administrative discretion of agencies. However, we are considering including “prosecution-related” protection measures in the Bill, such as providing for temporary shelter and trials in camera for trafficked victims.
a. Identify yourself and the organisation you represent (if any), as that would help us understand the impact of the proposed changes to different interested parties.b. Make your comments clear and concise.c. Identify the specific topic you are commenting on, and focus your comments on how we can improve the proposal or make it clearer.d. As far as possible, explain your points with illustrations and examples.
• Post to:
Attn: Joint Operations Management, Joint Operations Division (TIP Bill)Ministry of Home AffairsNew Phoenix Park28 Irrawaddy RoadSingapore 329560