Trafficking In Persons

  

Trafficking In Persons (TIP) is a significant transnational crime which exploits vulnerable victims. Singapore takes a serious view of TIP and has in place robust laws and processes, as well as a committed and competent law enforcement system, to combat trafficking in persons.

 

In addition to investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act (2014), Singapore adopts a proactive approach to detect and deal with TIP cases.

 

Under this framework, enforcement agencies conduct regular operations to detect and deter illegal activities that may be indicative of TIP. This pre-emptive enforcement stance has helped to keep the number of TIP cases low.

 

Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on TIP

In 2010, the Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on TIP was established to combat TIP in Singapore. The Taskforce is co-led by MHA and the Ministry of Manpower, and comprises representatives from seven other government agencies. The Taskforce is the central body for the formulation and coordination of national policies and programmes to prevent and combat human trafficking.

 

National Plan of Action (NPA, 2012-2015)

Launched in 2012, The NPA was the roadmap for Singapore’s Whole-of-Government approach to dealing with TIP from 2012 to 2015.

 

Key NPA initiatives included the training of officers to raise competencies to detect human trafficking; partnerships with regional and international bodies to better combat this transnational crime; and the introduction of the TIP Public Awareness Grant.

 

The TIP Public Awareness Grant was established in 2013 and seeks to encourage public education initiatives that help raise awareness of TIP crimes. Grants have been awarded to community stakeholders and non-governmental groups for a range of awareness programmes.

 

Prevention of Human Trafficking Act

Another significant outcome of the NPA was the passing of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, which was introduced in Parliament in November 2014 and took effect in March 2015.

 

The Prevention of Human Trafficking Act serves to deter TIP and supports the rehabilitation of trafficked victims, especially vulnerable individuals. The Act defines the offence of TIP and sets out actions which constitute abetment of the TIP offence. It is also an offence for a person to knowingly receive payment in connection with the exploitation of a trafficked victim, with severe penalties for doing so.

 

The Prevention of Human Trafficking Act also provides measures for the care of TIP victims, to encourage the reporting of trafficking activities. These include mandatory in-camera court proceedings for child victims, media gag-order for all proceedings involving sexual exploitation, and protection for informers to incentivise the reporting of TIP activities.

 

UN Tip Protocol

In addition to the enactment of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, in 2015, Singapore acceded to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (UN TIP Protocol). The UN TIP Protocol lays out international standards for the elimination of TIP, and seeks to prevent, suppress and punish TIP perpetrators while protecting victims and promoting cooperation among State Parties to meet these objectives. Singapore is fully in compliance with the Protocol.

 

National Approach Against Trafficking in Persons (2016-2026)

With the initiatives under the NPA completed, the Taskforce launched the National Approach Against TIP in March 2016. Building on the success of the NPA, the National Approach sets out key strategies and outcomes to guide the Taskforce and its stakeholders as they develop work plans to combat TIP.

 

These are the four desired outcomes of the National Approach Against TIP:

 

Prevention: A public that is aware of TIP crimes and actively takes steps to prevent, combat and suppress TIP. Government officials and stakeholders who are well-trained, competent and professional in identifying and dealing with TIP cases.

 

Prosecution: An effective end-to-end criminal justice response to TIP crimes, involving comprehensive investigations and prosecution of all offenders who may be involved in trafficking or the exploitation of victims.

 

Protection: An appropriate victim care and support framework that looks after the needs of all victims of trafficking.

 

Partnership: A strong ecosystem comprising domestic and international stakeholders to put forth a whole-of-Singapore response against TIP.

 

Reporting TIP Cases

Suspected TIP activity can be reported via:

 

Duty Officer: 6435-0000

Email: SPF_Report_Trafficking@spf.gov.sg

 

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