Press Releases

Launch of Singapore’s National Approach Against Trafficking-In-Persons

Published: 10 March 2016

1. The Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons (TIP) has launched a National Approach against TIP. This was announced today at an engagement session with approximately 25 representatives from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), businesses and academics. The National Approach will build on the success of the National Plan of Action (NPA) which had guided the Taskforce's anti-TIP efforts from 2012 to 2015.


Conclusion of the National Plan of Action against TIP


2. The NPA, which was launched in 2012, served as a roadmap to build capabilities to deal with TIP in Singapore. The NPA identified specific initiatives to address the immediate legislative and operational gaps, such as the lack of a dedicated anti-TIP law in Singapore. Over the past four years, the Taskforce has delivered various initiatives under the NPA including:


a. Enactment of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act (PHTA) in March 2015 [1]


b. Accession to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (UN TIP Protocol) in September 2015; and 


c. Ratification of ASEAN Convention against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP) in January 2016.


Looking Ahead: The National Approach to Combat TIP


3. Initiatives under the first NPA have been substantially completed, laying a strong foundation to deal with TIP in the longer term. Specifically, the Taskforce has developed a National Approach that sets out the key strategies and the desired end outcomes to guide Taskforce agencies and stakeholders when developing their work plans to combat TIP. The four outcomes under the National Approach are as follows: 


a.   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.


b.   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.


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


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


4. Speaking at the session, Mr Alvin Lim, co-chair of the Taskforce and Divisional Director of the Workplace Policy and Strategy Division at the Ministry of Manpower, said, "The National Approach shows the Government's long term commitment to combat TIP crimes. Our efforts over the past years have kept the TIP situation in Singapore under control. However, such crimes transcend boundaries and Singapore, as an economic hub, is as vulnerable as other countries in tackling the scourge of TIP. This National Approach will serve as a guide in the long term."


5. Mr Marvin Sim, co-chair of the Taskforce and Senior Director of the Joint Operations Group at the Ministry of Home Affairs, said, "Since the formation of the Taskforce in 2010, much effort has been made to strengthen our regime to combat TIP. Together with our stakeholders, we have achieved significant milestones, such as the enactment of a dedicated anti-TIP law and increasing public awareness on this issue. Our stakeholders' continued support and active participation is crucial in our fight against this complex crime and we look forward to working with them on the implementation of the National Approach."


Issued by Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons


About the Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons

6. The Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking in Persons was established in 2010 in recognition of the threat of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in Singapore. Co-chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Taskforce includes representatives from the Singapore Police Force (SPF), Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Law (MinLaw), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC). The aim of the Taskforce is to implement holistic, co-ordinated strategies to combat TIP more effectively.


[1] In February 2016, a 25-year-old man who sexually exploited at least two teenage girls and forced them into prostitution was sentenced to six years and three months in jail and fined S$30,000. This is the first case to be prosecuted under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, which came into effect in March 2015. The penalties under this Act are double the existing maximum jail terms in other laws. This highlights the seriousness of which the Singapore sees the offence of human trafficking.


Trafficking in Persons