There is no specific action plan to address trafficking in persons in Singapore; however, such acts are punishable under laws, which prohibit the trafficking of women or girls into the country for purposes of prostitution, unlawful custody or control of children, wrongful confinement, and trafficking of illegal immigrants. While none of these laws prescribe punishments commensurate with those for rape, punishments for offenses are substantial. Convicted traffickers would typically be found guilty of violating more than one law, which when aggregated could provide commensurate punishment.
There is no evidence that government officials are complicit in trafficking, and the country does not evidence significant corruption. Prostitution is not illegal, although profiting from it by other persons does violate the law, and the use of fraud or coercion to induce persons into prostitution is illegal. There is no specific campaign to combat or prevent the use of fraud or coercion to recruit foreign women as prostitutes, although some persons have been prosecuted and punished for crimes involving such acts. Immigration laws are enforced strictly, which sharply reduces the flow of persons potentially vulnerable to trafficking, and adds to the legal jeopardy faced by would-be traffickers.
The Ministry of Manpower investigates complaints by foreign workers, and prevents employers from terminating workers while an investigation is ongoing. The government substantially strengthened penalties against employers who abuse domestic workers in 1998, and prosecutes the now greatly reduced cases of abuse; however, victims testifying in cases are required to remain in the country and often are not permitted to work.1
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