The employment agency that "sold" maids on the online retail platform Carousell has had its licence suspended.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it had established that employment agency SRC Recruitment was behind the maid advertisements.
It added that the agency was served with a notice of licence suspension, and can no longer deploy any new foreign domestic workers (FDWs) for employment. MOM also said it was investigating the agency, with the view to prosecuting it for infringements under the Employment Agencies Act (EAA).
The suspension will remain in place for as long as investigations are ongoing, the ministry said.
Commissioner for Employment Agencies Kevin Teoh said: "We strongly condemn the advertising of FDW services in an undignified manner. Advertising FDWs on an Internet platform meant for trading goods is completely inappropriate and unacceptable. Such an act is an offence under the EAA."
MOM takes a serious view of the matter and will not hesitate to prosecute errant agencies, he added.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said she was "deeply disturbed" by the ads that marketed maids.
She wrote: "It pains me to think that our FDWs, many of whom are someone's daughter, sister and possibly even mother, are being marketed in such a manner.
"It is a given that we should treat them with respect."
MOM was first alerted to the Carousell listings last Friday, and put up a Facebook post to warn other agencies against engaging in such practices. It also told Carousell to take down the offending posts.
"The ministry sternly warns employment agencies against similar actions that would denigrate the dignity of FDWs working in Singapore," said the MOM statement.
The ministry added that it is in touch with the Indonesian Embassy, and has informed it about the investigations.
The Carousell listings were posted by user @maid.recruitment and showed the faces of several maids, who are believed to be from Indonesia. Some of the posts indicated that the maids had been "sold". The postings prompted the Indonesian Embassy to say it would request a thorough investigation.
According to the Jakarta Post, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry's overseas citizen protection director Lalu Muhammad Iqbal on Sunday said Indonesia's embassy in Singapore had voiced concerns about the practice to MOM.