Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking is a type of human trafficking along with children trafficking and trafficking for forced labour.

The Singapore law defines participation in human trafficking as recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving an individual for the purpose of exploitation. This can be by means of:

  • Threat or use of force, or any other form of coercion
  • Abduction
  • Fraud or deception
  • Abuse of power
  • Abuse of the individual’s vulnerability
  • Payments/Benefits to obtain consent from the person having control over another person
Examples and Possible Signs

Signs of someone being sex trafficked includes:

1. Living/travelling in a group, sometimes with people who do not speak the same language
2. Moving from one brothel to another or work in various locations
3. Sleep where they work
4. Being escorted whenever they go to and return from work and other activities
5. Bearing tattoos or marks indicating ownership by exploiters
6. Working long hours and have none or few days off
7. Having very few items of clothing
8. Not holding cash of their own
9. Only knowing how to say sex-related words in the local language
10. No right to refuse unprotected and/or violent sex

What can I do if I am experiencing similar scenarios?

If you suspect a case of human trafficking, you can report it to

Police 6435 0000
Ministry of Manpower 6438 5122

Hagar is an non-governmental/profit organisation targeting human trafficking. Hagar provides counselling, case management, empowerment through literacy and skills training, and assists to resettle survivors back in their home countries.

How can I seek legal help?

Laws regarding sex trafficking:

Prevention of Human Trafficking Act (PHTA) Trafficking is considered an offence. Offenders will be
imprisoned and caned.
Section 19(1) states that victims may be given temporary
shelter and counselling services depending on their case.
Women’s Charter Any person found trafficking women or girls, may face a maximum jail term of up to seven years and a maximum fine of $100,000

Refer here for legal clinics you can turn to for advice

Singapore Statistics

79% of all global trafficking is for sexual exploitation. In the southeast asian region alone, UNICEF estimates that there are over one million children victimised by the sex industry, (ECPAT).

Since the enactment of PHTA in 2015, Police have investigated into a total of 134 case of alleged sex trafficking between 2015 and 2019.

According The Straits Times (2019),

Year Cases Prosecuted under the PHTA Number of successful convictions
2015 4 0
2016 1 3
2017 0 1
2018 2 0
2019 2 1