New national approach to tackle human trafficking in Singapore

SINGAPORE - The Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons (TIP) has launched a new plan to combat the scourge of human trafficking here.

Called the "National Approach against TIP", the plan charts out a four-pronged approach towards fighting the problem here.

In a statement to the media on Thursday (March 10), the Taskforce - which comprises agencies such as the Ministries of Home Affairs and Manpower, and police - said that under the plan, it hopes to educate the public about TIP, prosecute TIP crimes in the justice system, establish a victim care and support framework, and partner domestic and international organisations in its fight.

The plan was announced at an engagement session on Thursday, attended by representatives from non-governmental organisations, businesses and academics.

Mr Alvin Lim, co-chair of the Taskforce from the Ministry of Manpower, said the Government's efforts have kept TIP under control in Singapore, but the new plan would serve as a guide in the long term.

Last year, the Government enacted legislation that explicitly outlawed human trafficking here - the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act.

It has also ratified the Asean Convention against Trafficking in Persons in January.

Last month, a 25-year-old man who sexually exploited at least two teenage girls and forced them into prostitution was found guilty under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act and sentenced to six years and three months in jail, and fined $30,000.

This was the first case to be prosecuted under the Act.

Mr Marvin Sim, co-chairman of the Taskforce from the Ministry of Home Affairs, said the Taskforce has achieved significant milestones and strengthened Singapore's regime against TIP, since it was formed in 2010.

"Our stakeholders' continued support and active participation is crucial in our fight against this complex crime and we look forward to working with them on the implementation of the National Approach," he said.