Activist groups make recommendations for human trafficking bill

SINGAPORE - Two activist groups have submitted several recommendations for the proposed Trafficking in Persons Bill.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) and the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) responded to a statement on the matter issued by MP Christopher De Souza and the Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking in Persons.

The groups asserted that some cases of deceptive recruitment - when a person is duped into a job - and maltreatment of workers are currently not addressed by existing legislation.

The statement cited specific issues such as "poor protection against long hours", "the lack of freedom to change employers" and the "ability of employers to repatriate workers" and said: "Unless these issues are considered, the proposed Bill will not be protecting trafficked and deceptively recruited workers..."

The groups also called for the right to alternative employment and basic medical care to be considered . They said that not including the right to work in legislation will leave the victim "vulnerable to further victimisation through repatriation or deportation".

They also asked for clarity on the administrative guidelines that will determine the protection and support measures for victims.