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About Human Trafficking

Trafficking in persons (TIP) is a transnational crime which exploits vulnerable victims.

Human Trafficking is criminalised in Singapore under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act 2014 (PHTA). Singapore adopts the internationally agreed definition under the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (UN TIP Protocol).

Under the PHTA, human trafficking or TIP is an offence. An offence under the PHTA can be made out if the following three limbs are present: -

  • ‘Act’: Recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring, or receiving an individual
  • By 'Means' of:
    • the threat or use of force, or any other form of coercion; 
    • abduction, fraud or deception;
    • the abuse of power;
    • the abuse of the position of vulnerability of the individual;
    • or the giving to, or the receipt by, another person having control over that individual of any money or benefit to secure that other person’s consent 
  • For the ‘Purpose’ of exploitation (whether in Singapore or elsewhere): sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or any practice similar to slavery, servitude, or the removal of an organ.

Myths around Human Trafficking

Here are some common myths and misconceptions about human trafficking:

Human trafficking is often confused with human smuggling, which involves illegal border crossings. The crime of human trafficking does not require any movement whatsoever. Victims can be recruited and trafficked in their neighbourhoods and even in their homes.

Victims can be trafficked by people they know, even their spouses.

Trafficked people can find it difficult to escape their situation for many reasons, such as:

  • being physically be unable to escape or are held against their will, 
  • lacking the necessities to physically get out – such as transportation or a safe place to live. 
  • being afraid for their/their family members’ safety. 
  • being so effectively manipulated that they do not identify at that point as being under the control of another person.

The consent of the trafficked individual to the actual or intended exploitation is irrelevant when any of the ‘means’ have been used.

Human trafficking can happen anywhere including, in Singapore. Each of us can play a part in recognising possible victims of human trafficking.

Human trafficking, which includes both sex trafficking and labour trafficking, can occur in various sectors, and is not limited to any specific area.

Both men and women can be victims of human trafficking.

Both locals and foreigners can become victims of human trafficking.

Human Trafficking Statistics in Singapore


  • Since the enactment of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act in 2015, ten cases have been convicted with a maximum sentence of 80 months’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $30,000.

Below are some news articles about cases convicted under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act:



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