Singapore: Parliament Approves New Law to Combat Human Trafficking
Saturday, November 15, 2014 12:00 PM

On November 3, Singapore's Parliament passed new legislation to combat and prevent trafficking in persons, including women and girls. The law, called the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act (Trafficking Act), specifically prohibits human trafficking and allows courts to punish offenders with up to 10 years imprisonment. A supporter of the Trafficking Act said the legislation “will dismantle syndicates and prevent the exploitation of innocent women, men, girls and boys.” Prior to the approval of the new legislation, Singapore did not have a dedicated law against human trafficking.

However, other members of Parliament and civil society criticized the Trafficking Act as lacking adequate provisions for victim support and protection. While the new law does contain two sections on victim counseling and shelter, it does not grant victims immunity from prosecution or provide victims with the right to work in Singapore while the authorities investigate their cases. The Trafficking Act’s supporters said special legal protections were not necessary because the authorities in Singapore generally do not prosecute trafficking victims.

Compiled from: Sim, Walter, Landmark law against human trafficking passed after debate, AsiaOne Singapore and the Straits Times (November 6, 2014); Fang, Joy, Anti-human-trafficking laws passed in Parliament, Prevention through tough penalties, enforcement, best way to address problem: MP, Today (November 4, 2014); Fang, Joy, Human-trafficking law will make police work ‘more clear-cut’, Today (November 3, 2014).