Christopher de Souza to introduce Private Member's Bill on human trafficking

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has given the green light for Mr Christopher de Souza, a Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, to introduce a Private Member's Bill which seeks to fight human trafficking. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has given the green light for Mr Christopher de Souza, a Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, to introduce a Private Member's Bill which seeks to fight human trafficking. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has given the green light for Mr Christopher de Souza, a Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, to introduce a Private Member's Bill which seeks to fight human trafficking.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Mr de Souza said he drafted the Bill to provide a dedicated piece of legislation to "strongly and potently" address the issue and to criminalise the trafficking of people and minors for purposes such as sexual exploitation, forced incarceration, slave labor, and forced organ trafficking.

He raised the example of the Misuse of Drugs Act, which is targeted specifically at combating drugs in Singapore and has been "highly effective".

Responding, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said the Government is supportive of Mr de Souza's initiative and will ask the Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking in Persons to work with him on hammering out the specifics of the Bill.

Private Member's Bills, which are introduced by MPs who are not ministers, are rare. The last such Bill to be successfully passed was the Maintenance of Parents Act, which was introduced by then-Nominated MP Walter Woon in 1994.

Mr de Souza said he intends to consult and work with the various government agencies, non-governmental organisations, voluntary welfare organisations and "like-minded Singaporeans" to tweak the Bill to make it more effective.