Multi-pronged approach to protect foreign domestic workers

Ms Stephanie Chok Juin Mei, from the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, called for better protection for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) who are abused (Time to consider rights-based protection for abused maids, Forum Online; July 24).

Indeed, Singapore is committed to protecting the well-being and interests of all FDWs.

Our laws and regulations, which are reviewed regularly, provide strong and comprehensive protection to FDWs working in Singapore.

The Government takes all cases of abuse seriously, and thoroughly investigates all complaints.

During the investigation period, FDWs are provided with care and support, including shelter, food and medical treatment.

For FDWs who are willing and able to continue working, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) facilitates their employment, so that they can maintain an income.

Singapore also has a clear record of strict enforcement against abuses and exploitation of FDWs. This means errant employers are investigated and punished accordingly.

Anyone who abuses a FDW faces 1.5 times the maximum punishment under the Penal Code, and will be barred from hiring such workers in future.

Through multiple platforms, MOM informs and educates FDWs on their rights and responsibilities as well as on the various channels through which they can seek help, such as at the Settling-In Programme, which is mandatory for all first-time FDWs.

FDWs in distress can and do contact MOM, the police, non-governmental organisations, employment agencies, and their embassies for assistance.

We urge FDWs and members of the public to swiftly report suspected abuse cases to MOM on 6438-5122 or the police on 1800-255-0000, http://www.police.gov.sg/iwitness or dial 999 if urgent police assistance is required.

All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Jeanette-Har (Ms)

Director, Well-Being Department

Ministry of Manpower