Sri Lankan teen lured here to be prostitute

A 16-year-old Sri Lankan, whose family was having financial woes, was recruited by her neighbours to work in Singapore as a prostitute.

Over 12 days, she serviced 207 men in a brothel at 20 Jalan Suka in Geylang. The neighbours had promised the teen that she would be able to make $1,400 within a month.

But she was arrested on the night of Aug 6 last year, after policemen saw her soliciting for customers in the area. She had yet to receive any earnings from her prostitution.

Yesterday, a 68-year-old man who ran the brothel was jailed for three months. Goh Tiang Ho pleaded guilty to one charge of managing a brothel. A 27-year-old Bangladeshi national, Sahadat - who goes by one name - was also jailed for three months for helping to manage the brothel.

A District Court heard that the teen, who cannot be named due to an order by the court, lived with her father and grandmother in Sri Lanka. In May 2015, her family was in financial difficulty as her grandmother was suffering from stomach cancer and her father was unable to work because of high blood pressure and asthma.

She told her neighbours of her woes.

"The victim's neighbours recruited the victim to work in Singapore as a prostitute," said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Amanda Chong Wei-Zhen.

"The victim was told by the couple that she would be able to make 150,000 rupees (S$1,400) in Singapore as a prostitute within a month. Her recruiters made arrangements for the victim to travel to Singapore."

She arrived in Singapore on the night of July 24 last year and was met by two Sri Lankan men at Changi Airport. Her customers paid $30 for 15 minutes of sex with her, including $10 for the rental of a room at Goh's brothel.

One of the men who picked her up, Hathamune Liyanage Pushpa Surange, 29, had arrived in Singapore on the same day on a social visit pass. The other man's identity has not been established.

Hathamune, also known as Ranga, left Singapore on Aug 6 last year and is wanted by the police. He is suspected to be a member of a vice syndicate.

Amir Hussain

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'Sri Lankan teen lured here to be prostitute'. Print Edition | Subscribe