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Dear Sir/ Madam,
Below is HOME’s response to the US State Department’s Trafficking In Persons report:
HOME agrees with the issues raised in the TIP report and the State Department’s Tier 2 ranking is correct. The Singapore government has started to take trafficking more seriously and this is a positive sign.
However, measures which ensure the rights of trafficked victims fall short of internationally recognised standards and those of other developed nations. For example, the right to decent work, compensation, legal aid, psychological and social support services is not guaranteed.
We are also deeply concerned that trafficked victims are being penalised for immigration and work related offences. Without an effective victim protection system, it is highly unlikely that trafficked migrants will file complaints and cooperate with the authorities.
Policies which encourage trafficking and forced labour, such as restrictions to job mobility, and the $5k security bond need to be abolished. We are also deeply concerned that trafficked victims are being penalised for immigration and work related offences.
The report mentioned disagreement between the government and civil society on whether specific cases amounted to trafficking. Indeed, HOME has referred such cases which were rejected by the government, even though our interviews revealed strong trafficking indicators. However, the reasons for not classifying such cases as trafficking are rarely disclosed. Greater collaboration and exchange of information between the government and civil society organisations is needed so that trafficked victims can be more effectively assisted and perpetrators brought to justice.
Jolovan Wham (范国瀚）
Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) 情义之家