MOM investigating cases of maids being 'sold' on Carousell

In Carousell listings by user @maid.recruitment, the faces of several maids, allegedly from Indonesia, were posted, with some profiles indicating that the maids have been "sold".
In Carousell listings by user @maid.recruitment, the faces of several maids, allegedly from Indonesia, were posted, with some profiles indicating that the maids have been "sold".PHOTO: SCREENGRABS FROM CAROUSELL

Advertising maids like commodities is an offence under the Employment Agencies Act

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is investigating cases of maids being "sold" on online retail platform Carousell.

In a Facebook post yesterday evening, the ministry said it was "aware of cases where foreign domestic workers are being marketed inappropriately on... Carousell".

"We are investigating these cases and have arranged for these listings to be taken down," it added.

In listings put up by user @maid. recruitment, who joined Carousell on Aug 15, the faces of several maids, allegedly from Indonesia, were posted. Some profiles even indicate that the maids have been "sold".

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Carousell spokesman said such listings are not allowed on the marketplace, in accordance with its community guidelines. While it allows agencies to advertise services, personnel listings are not allowed.

"Any display or sharing of individuals' personal biodata is strictly prohibited as this violates our guidelines," Carousell's spokesman said.

The spokesmanadded that there was no actual sale transacted, and such a sale would be removed from the marketplace if detected.

"In this instance, we are assisting the authorities with their investigations," the spokesman said. Carousell has since suspended the account and removed the listings.

In its post, the ministry said advertising maids like commodities is unacceptable and an offence under the Employment Agencies Act.

If found guilty, an employment agency can face demerit points and have its licence suspended or revoked.

"MOM expects employment agencies to be responsible and exercise sensitivity when marketing their services," it added.

It said it is also a serious offence to conduct employment agency activities without a valid licence. Offenders can be fined up to $80,000, jailed up to two years, or both. Anyone who uses the services provided by an unlicensed employment agency can also be fined up to $5,000.

These are the first such listings the online marketplace has encountered, said the Carousell spokesman. "We urge our users to flag any other suspicious listings to us. We are committed to protecting the safety of our users and are continually improving our technologies for early detection of prohibited listings."

The ministry advised the public to use only MOM-licensed employment agencies and to check if an agency is registered and legal at www.mom.gov.sg/eadirectory.

• Additional reporting by Ng Huiwen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2018, with the headline 'MOM investigating cases of maids being 'sold' on Carousell'. Print Edition | Subscribe