Southeast Asia remains a notorious hotbed for human trafficking. The seriousness of the problem has led to the emergence of various initiatives to combat human trafficking. This paper seeks to address why human trafficking in Southeast Asia remains a contentious issue despite the various initiatives put in place for its eradication. ASEAN Member States, including Singapore, can only resolve the current inertia when it comes to combatting trafficking-in-persons (TIP) by adopting a multidimensional, and multistakeholder approach to the problem. Within Singapore, it is recommended that the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act should be amended such that it provides greater protection for all types of trafficking victims. At the regional level, there is a need for greater collaboration and co-ordination amongst ASEAN bodies in tackling human trafficking, which must be accompanied by comprehensive monitoring, compliance, and enforcement mechanisms.
LLB (Hons), National University of Singapore. Former Research Assistant, Singapore Management University School of Law. I would like to thank Jacintha Gopal, Gillian Seetoh, and Melody Christa Chen for their dedicated research assistance, and Singapore Management University’s Assistant Professor Mahdev Mohan for his guidance. I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft. All errors remain mine.
1. Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2014, Report of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Publication, Sales No. E.14.V.10, at 77–80 [UNODC Global Report]; BLACKBURN, Ashley, TAYLOR, Robert, and DAVIS, Jennifer, “Understanding the Complexities of Human Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation: The Case of Southeast Asia” (2010) 20 Women & Criminal Justice 105 at 109 .
2. U.S. Department of State, “Trafficking in Persons Report July 2015” (20 September 2015), online: U.S. Department of State <https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/245365.pdf>. The US TIP Report is an annual publication of the U.S. Department of State that details challenges related to TIP around the world, and ranks every country according to their domestic measures pertaining to TIP as well as introduces recommended measures on a country-specific level in a bid to improve collective standards in fighting TIP. The report is also part of the US initiative to foster common standards of TIP and to increase awareness of the adequacy and legitimacy of a country’s actions pertaining to the issue.
3. Ibid. Countries are ranked respectively on four tiers (Tiers 1 to 3, with Tier 2 watch list ranked after Tier 2) according to their compliance with American Trafficking Victims Protection Act [TVPA] minimum standards of TIP—Tier 2 watch list countries are listed as such because they do not fully comply with TVPA minimum standards and where: “a) the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing; b) there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, including increased investigations, prosecution, and convictions of trafficking crimes, increased assistance to victims, and decreasing evidence of complicity in severe forms of trafficking by government officials; or, c) the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional steps over the next year.”
4. United Nations, “Trafficking in Women and Girls: Meeting the Challenge Together” (5 March 2007), online: United Nations <http://www.un.org/webcast/pc2007.htm>.
6. UN Doc A/55/383 (2000), chapter XVIII. This Protocol entered into force on 25 December 2003 and is implemented by the UNODC. The authority of the Protocol is implicit in its authority as one of two binding supplements to the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (cited below at ftn 7) and commits signatory states in their prevention and tackling of TIP in order to meet common standards of anti-TIP measures. As at September 2015, there are 167 parties to the Protocol.
7. UN Doc. A/45/49 (2000), chapter XVIII. As mentioned above, this Protocol represents the other supplement to the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and came into force on 28 January 2004. This deals more broadly with the problem of large-scale TIP in relation to activities entered into by organized criminal groups. As of September 2015, there are 141 parties to the Protocol.
8. UN Doc. A/55/383 at 25 (2000). This Convention came into force on 29 September 2003, and along with the Palermo Protocols as defined above, is also supplemented by the Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms. Parties are required to be signatories of the Convention before becoming parties to any of the Protocols listed, and, as of September 2015, there are 185 parties to the Convention. The purpose of the Convention is to foster and enhance international co-operation in dealing with the problems raised.
9. It should be noted that the term “Palermo Protocols” is commonly used to refer to three specific Protocols: the Palermo Protocol on Women and Children (UN Doc. A/55/383 (Annex II, p. 53)), the Palermo Protocol on Smuggling (UN Doc. A/55/383 (Annex II, p. 53)) and a third protocol, the Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition (UN Doc. A/55/255). The third protocol will not be discussed in this paper. Therefore, the term “Palermo Protocols” in this paper refers only to the Trafficking and Smuggling Protocols.
10. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2 at 303.
11. No. 45 of 2014 [PHTA].
12. Ministry of Home Affairs of Singapore, “Singapore Accedes to the United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol” (29 September 2015), online: Ministry of Home Affairs <https://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/press-releases/Pages/Singapore-Accedes-to-the-United-Nations-Trafficking-in-Persons-Protocol.aspx>.
13. DERKS, Annuska, Combating Trafficking in Southeast Asia—A Review of Policy and Programme Responses, International Organisation for Migration Research Series No. 2 (2000), at 5 .
15. Ibid., at 16–17. The incidence of TIP cases in the region bring out the comparative severity of the problem particularly in ASEAN. The significance of this is the need to properly tackle such a regional issue in order to dramatically reduce the number of TIP cases globally.
16. Ibid., at 17.
17. Whilst it has been observed that the problems of TIP differ in various countries due to economic, sociocultural, and historical factors (see Derks, supra note 13 at 32), one should note that the context in which the situation in Thailand is reflective of a regional problem is accurate insofar as TIP movements are concerned—for Thailand to be a source country, another Southeast Asian country surely is a destination country. As a destination country, most countries in the region would surely qualify as a source country.
18. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2 at 187.
21. Ibid., at 362.
22. MTV Exit, “The New Cyber Trend in Human Trafficking: How to Stay Safe Online” (28 November 2013), online: MTV Exit <http://exitslavery.org/human-trafficking-goes-cyber-stay-online/>.
23. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2 at 363.
25. UNODC Global Report, supra note 1 at 36.
28. International Labour Office, “Caught at Sea: Forced Labour and Trafficking in Fisheries” (2013), online: International Labour Organisation <http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_214472.pdf> at 8–10.
29. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2 at 187.
30. International Labour Office, supra note 28 at 9–10.
31. MACFARLANE, Douglas, “The Slave Trade and the Right of Visit Under the Law of the Sea Convention: Exploitation in the Fishing Industry in New Zealand and Thailand” (2015) Asian Journal of International Law First View .
32. PITMAN, Todd and GECKER, Jocelyn, “Malaysia Migrant Graves Reveal 139 Human Skeletons at Site Where Rohingya Muslims ‘Kept by Traffickers’” The Independent (25 May 2015), online: The Independent <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/malaysia-migrant-graves-reveal-139-human-skeletons-at-site-where-rohingya-muslims-kept-by-10273915.html>.
33. Human Rights Watch, “Thailand: Mass Graves of Rohingya Found in Trafficking Camp” (1 May 2015), online: Human Rights Watch <https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/05/01/thailand-mass-graves-rohingya-found-trafficking-camp>.
34. STOAKES, Emmanual, KELLY, Chris, and KELLY, Annie, “Revealed: How the Thai Fishing Industry Trafficks, Imprisons and Enslaves” (20 July 2015), online: The Guardian <http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/jul/20/thai-fishing-industry-implicated-enslavement-deaths-rohingya>.
35. TAN, Hui Yee, “Massive Human Trafficking Trial Begins in Bangkok” The Straits Times (25 December 2015), online: The Straits Times <http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/massive-human-trafficking-trial-begins-in-bangkok>.
36. CULLEN-DUPONT, Kathryn, Global Issues: Human Trafficking (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009) at 6 .
37. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 23 May 1969, UN Doc. A/Conf.39/27 (entered into force 27 January 1980) [Vienna Convention]. Art. 53 determines that: “A treaty is void if, at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of general international law. For the purposes of the present Convention, a peremptory norm of general international law is a norm accepted and recognized by the international community of States as a whole as a norm from which no derogation is permitted and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character.” Further, the case of Prosecutor v. Furundzija,  121 I.L.R. 213, provides authority that jus cogens norms cannot be violated “through international treaties or local or special customs or even general customary rules not endowed with the same normative force”.
38. ORAKHELASHVILI, Alexander, Peremptory Norms in International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006) at 53–60 .
39. KRANRATTANASUIT, Naparat, ASEAN and Human Trafficking: Case Studies of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2014) at 52 .
40. MACAN-MARKAR, Marwaan, “Human Trafficking Exposes ASEAN’s Underbelly” Interpress Service News Agency (17 June 2010), online: Interpress Service News Agency <http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51857>.
41. Derks, supra note 13 at 6.
42. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2 at 7–8.
43. GALLAGHER, Anne T. and DAVID, Fiona, The International Law of Migrant Smuggling (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) at 1 .
44. Ibid., at 32.
46. Ibid., at 29.
47. Ibid., at 28.
48. This Convention represents a multilateral treaty that was adopted in 2000. It is commonly read in conjunction with its accompanying two Protocols as mentioned in this paper, and all three instruments contain elements that prohibit TIP.
49. United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols Thereto, 15 November 2000, GA Res. 55/25 (entered into force 29 September 2003).
50. UNODC Global Report, supra note 1 at 12.
52. Ibid., at 13.
53. UNODC, “Model Law on Trafficking in Persons” (2009), online: UNODC <http://www.unodc.org/documents/human-trafficking/UNODC_Model_Law_on_Trafficking_in_Persons.pdf> [UNODC Model Law on Trafficking in Persons].
54. Infra, Part III, A.
55. Kranrattanasuit, supra note 39 at 60.
56. While it is beyond the scope of this paper, it is worth exploring in detail, in a future paper, Singapore’s role in each of these initiatives, and the level of success enjoyed by each of these initiatives in preventing TIP.
57. International Organisation for Migration, “The Bangkok Declaration on Irregular Migration” (21 April 1999), online: IOM <http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/site/myjahiasite/shared/shared/mainsite/policy_and_research/rcp/APC/BANGKOK_DECLARATION.pdf> [Bangkok Declaration].
58. Ibid., art. 1; International Organisation for Migration, “Key Migration Terms” (2011), online: IOM <https://www.iom.int/key-migration-terms>.
59. Ibid., at arts. 8, 10.
60. KNEEBONE, Susan and DEBELJAK, Julie, Transnational Crime and Human Rights: Responses to Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Subregion (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012) at 99 .
61. Ibid., at 94.
62. ASEAN Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons Particularly Women and Children, 29 November 2004, at arts. 1–8. [ASEAN Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons Particularly Women and Children].
63. Kranrattanasuit, supra note 39 at 61.
64. Ibid., at 65.
65. ASEAN Declaration Against Trafficking in Persons Particularly Women and Children, supra note 62 at art. 5 (emphasis added).
66. Kranrattanasuit, supra note 39 at 61.
67. See below: 6. ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons [ACTIP].
68. TAN, Hsien-Li, The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights: Institutionalising Human Rights in Southeast Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011) at 154 .
69. International Labour Organisation, “International Labour Standards on Migrant Workers”, online: ILO <http://www.ilo.org/global/standards/subjects-covered-by-international-labour-standards/migrant-workers/lang--en/index.htm>.
70. ASEAN, “ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers” (13 January 2007), online: ASEAN <http://www.ilo.org/dyn/migpractice/docs/117/Declaration.pdf> [ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers].
72. Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, 20 July 2009 (adopted at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting on 20 July 2009) at art. 1.1 [AICHR Terms of Reference].
73. ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, “About AICHR”, online: AICHR <http://aichr.org/about/>.
75. ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, “Philippines Promotes Human Rights-Based Approach to Combat Trafficking-in-Persons Especially Women and Children in ASEAN” (6 December 2013), online: AICHR <http://aichr.org/news/philippines-promotes-human-rights-based-approach-to-combat-trafficking-in-persons-especially-women-and-children-in-asean/#sthash.Z7vsqnYy.dpuf>.
76. Kneebone and Debeljak, supra note 60 at 94.
77. AICHR Terms of Reference, supra note 72 at art. 4.8.
78. Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, 24 October 2009 (adopted at the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council on 24 October 2009 in Cha-Am, Thailand) [ACWC Terms of Reference] at art. 2.3.
79. Ibid., at arts. 2.1, 5.1.
80. Ibid., at art. 5.4.
81. Ibid., at arts. 6.1, 6.2.
82. Ibid., at art. 5.8.
83. Ibid., at art. 5.11.
84. ASEAN Secretariat, “ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), Work Plan 2012–2016 and Terms of Reference” (2013), online: ASEAN <http://126.96.36.199/images/users/admin/images/acwcworkplanandtor.pdf> at 4.
85. Infra, Part V, B.
86. Office of the President of the Philippines, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, “Drafting of ASEAN Convention to Combat Human Trafficking Concludes in the Philippines” (22 December 2014), online: Commission on Filipinos Overseas <http://1343actionline.ph/news/1056-drafting-of-asean-convention-to-combat-human-trafficking-concludes-in-the-philippines.html>.
87. ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, 21 November 2015, (adopted at the 27th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 21 November 2015), online: ASEAN <http://www.miti.gov.my/miti/resources/Chairman_Statement_of_27th_ASEAN_Summit.pdf?mid=414>. [ACTIP].
88. Both art. 2 of the ACTIP and art. 3 of The Palermo Protocol on Women and Children adopt this definition of “Trafficking in persons” while “exploitation” is defined as follows: “Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organ.”
89. ACTIP, supra note 87 at art. 13.
90. Ibid., at art. 18.
91. Ibid., at art. 19.
92. Ibid., at art. 20.
93. Ibid., at art. 21.
94. Ibid., at art. 14.
95. Ibid., at art. 15.
98. UNODC Global Report, supra note 1 at 36.
99. SOUTHWICK, Katherine G., “Bumpy Road to the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration” East-West Center (22 January 2013), online: East-West Center <http://www.eastwestcenter.org/publications/bumpy-road-the-asean-human-rights-declaration>.
100. MENDES, Errol P., Global Governance, Human Rights and International Law: Combating the Tragic Flaw (New York: Routledge, 2014).
101. Ibid., at s. 1.8.
102. Kranrattanasuit, supra note 39 at 85–7.
103. Mendes, supra note 100.
104. AICHR, “The AICHR and ACWC Consultation Meeting” (25 April 2014), online: AICHR <http://aichr.org/press-release/joint-press-release-the-aichr-and-acwc-consultation-meeting/>.
105. Human Rights Resource Centre, “AICHR and SOMTC Host First Joint Workshop on Trafficking in Persons” (9 November 2015), online: HRRC <http://hrrca.org/aichr-and-somtc-host-first-joint-workshop-on-trafficking-in-persons/>.
106. Kranrattanasuit, supra note 39 at 93.
107. Infra, Part V, B.
108. LIM, Yi Han, “Parliament: Tragic Stories of Human Trafficking in Modern Singapore” The Straits Times (6 November 2014), online: Asiaone <http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/parliament-tragic-stories-human-trafficking-modern-singapore>.
109. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2 at 303.
110. Derks, supra note 13 at 18.
112. YEA, Sallie, “Social Visits and Special Passes: Migrant Women Exploited in Singapore’s Sex & Nightlife Entertainment Industry” Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (29 January 2014), online: HOME <http://home.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/reports/2014-social-visits-special-passes-.pdf>.
113. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2 at 303.
115. EmancipAsia, “Labour Trafficking” online: EmancipAsia <http://emancipasia.org/keymessages/EMANCIPASIA_LTrafficking.pdf>.
117. Ibid.; SMU Lien Centre for Social Innovation, “SMU Study Reveals Challenges and Emotional Distress Faced by Migrant Workers in Singapore” (4 November 2015), online: SMU <http://www.smu.edu.sg/sites/default/files/smu/news_room/Press%20Release%20SMU-LCSI%20Migrant%20Workers%20Research%20Launch%204%20Nov%2715%20%28FINAL%29.pdf>.
118. EmancipAsia, supra note 115.
119. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2 at 303.
122. Walter SIM, “Parliament: Human-Trafficking Law Passed After Debate on Whether it Goes Far Enough” The Straits Times (3 November 2014), online: The Straits Times <http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/courts-crime/story/parliament-human-trafficking-law-passed-after-debate-whether-it-go>.
123. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, 3 November 2014, Vol. 92 (Christopher DE SOUZA, Member of Parliament of Holland-Bukit Timah GRC).
124. SOUZA, Christopher DE, “Dismantling Human Trafficking: The Need for a Dedicated Piece of Legislation” Law Gazette (February 2015), online: Law Gazette <http://www.lawgazette.com.sg/2015-02/1241.htm>.
125. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
128. PHTA, supra note 11 at s. 3(1)(a)–3(1)(f).
129. Ibid., at s. 3(1).
130. Ibid., at s. 2. It should be noted that this is the minimum definition of exploitation that was suggested by art. 3 of the Palermo Protocol: “Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
131. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
132. Supra, Part III, A.
133. WONG, Ronald JJ and JUAY, Wei Tian, “The Prevention of Human Trafficking Act 2014: Legislation Comment” (2015) 1 Singapore Journal of Legal Studies 261 at 263–264 .
134. UNODC Model Law on Trafficking in Persons, supra note 53 at art. 1(f).
135. S. 2 states that coercion includes: “(a) any threat of harm to or physical restraint of the individual or the other individual; (b) any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause the individual to believe that the failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint of the individual or the other individual; or (c) any abuse or threat related to the legal status of the individual or the other individual.”
136. UNODC Model Law on Trafficking in Persons, supra note 53 at art. 1(e). The Model Law defines coercion as the following: “Coercion” shall mean use of force or threat thereof, and some forms of non-violent or psychological use of force or threat thereof, including but not limited to: (i) Threats of harm or physical restraint of any person; (ii) Any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; (iii) Abuse or any threat linked to the legal status of a person; (iv) Psychological pressure.
137. ELLIOTT, Jessica, The Role of Consent in Human Trafficking (New York: Routledge, 2014) at 61 .
138. UNODC Model Law on Trafficking in Persons, supra note 53 at art. 1(a).
139. UNODC Global Report, supra note 1 at 44.
140. UK Modern Slavery Act, Cap. 30, 2015.
141. Cap. 241, 1993 Rev. Ed.
142. Cap. 185, 2001 Rev. Ed.
143. Ministry of Manpower of Singapore, “MOM Statement on Alleged Human Trafficking by Step Up Marine Enterprise LLP” (20 November 2015), online: MOM <http://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2015/1120-mom-statement-on-alleged-human-trafficking-by-step-up-marine-enterprise-llp>.
144. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
146. Ibid. (Janil Puthucheary, Member of Parliament of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC).
147. Ibid. (Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Gerald Giam).
148. Ibid. Notably, reference was made to California, where an offence of TIP carries a fine of up to US$1.5 million (S$1.93 million) and a jail term of fifteen years to life.
149. The UK, recognizing the seriousness of the offence, has recently increased the maximum jail sentence for TIP from fourteen years to life imprisonment for s. 5(1) of the UK Modern Slavery Act. See Home Office UK Government, “Modern Slavery Bill Published” (10 June 2014), online: UK Government <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/modern-slavery-bill-published>.
150. PHTA, supra note 11 at s. 6(2)(b).
151. Ibid., at s. 4(2)(c).
152. Ibid., at s. 4(2)(d).
153. Ibid., at s. 4(2)(h).
154. Ibid., at s. 2.
155. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
156. PHTA, supra note 11 at s. 3(2).
157. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
158. PHTA, supra note 11 at s. 18(4).
159. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
160. FARLEY, Melissa, “Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries: An Update on Violence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” in Melissa FARLEY, ed., Prostitution Trafficking and Traumatic Stress (New York: The Haworth Press Inc, 2003), at 33–74 .
161. WINTERDYK, John, PERRIN, Benjamin, and REICHEL, Philip, Human Trafficking: Exploring the International Nature, Concerns and Complexities (Florida, FL: CRC Press, 2011) at 222 .
162. KOH, Xing Hui, “Singapore Accedes to UN Protocol to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking” The Straits Times (3 January 2010), online: The Straits Times <http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-accedes-to-un-protocol-to-prevent-and-combat-human-trafficking>.
163. Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking in Persons, “National Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons 2012 to 2015” (2012), online: Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/dam/mfa/images/media_center/special_events/National Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons 2012 - 2015/tipbooklet_080812.pdf> [NPA].
164. Ibid., at 11.
165. See Part IV.
166. Women’s Charter, Cap. 353, Rev. Ed. 2009, at s. 140 [Women’s Charter].
167. Employment Act, Cap. 91, Rev. Ed. 2009, at s. 38.
168. Human Organ Transplant Act, Cap. 131A, Rev. Ed. 2012, at s. 14.
169. See s. 376A to 376E of the Penal Code, Cap. 224, Rev. Ed. 2008.
170. Cap 353, Rev Ed. 2009.
171. Cap 133, Rev Ed. 2008.
172. Second Reading of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill, Singapore Parliamentary Report (13 August 2012), Vol. 89, (Second Minister for Home Affairs Mr S. ISWARAN).
173. PP v. Tay Szu Khee,  SGDC 52 at ; PP v. Mehra Radhika,  SGDC 206 at .
174. Cap. 91A, Rev. Ed. 2009.
175. Public Prosecutor v. Wang Minjiang, 1 SLR(R) 867.
176. Cap. 224, Rev. Ed. 2008.
177. S. 376B(1) of the Penal Code reads as follows: “Any person who obtains for consideration the sexual services of a person, who is under 18 years of age, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years, or with fine, or with both.”
178. Public Prosecutor v. Wang Minjiang, supra note 175 at .
179. See for example, Credit Corporation v. Public Prosecutor,  2 SLR(R) 938, which was a decision by Chief Justice Yong Pung How (as he then was). The offender faced two charges of human smuggling under s. 57(1)(c) of the Immigration Act. The vehicle he used was seized pursuant to s. 49(1) of the Immigration Act. A Malaysian finance company sought the revision of the forfeiture order. In dismissing the petition, Yong CJ stated at  that: “[t]he fact that the vehicle was used by the offender … for human trafficking are irrelevant”, although His Honour later noted at  that the rationale for mandatory forfeiture of vehicles involving in human smuggling as a “strong deterrent … If vehicles were returned to innocent owners, human smuggling syndicates would find it easier to obtain vehicles to carry out human smuggling, without the risk of confiscation.”
180. Tan Chye Hin v. Public Prosecutor,  3 SLR(R) 873; Public Prosecutor v. Tan Huisheng,  SGDC 432; PP v. Isetty Lakshmi,  SGDC 279; Poh Boon Kiat v. PP,  4 SLR 892.
181. Ministry of Manpower, “Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce’s Detailed Response to the 2011 US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report” (1 August 2011), online: Ministry of Manpower <http://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2011/singapore-interagency-taskforces-detailed-response-to-the-2011-us-state-departments-trafficking-in-persons-report>.
182. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Response to the US Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011” (16 August 2012), online: Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/media_centre/press_room/pr/2012/201208/press_20120816_01.html>; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Response to the US Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012” (20 June 2013), online: Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/media_centre/press_room/pr/2013/201306/press_20130620_1.html>.
183. Oral Answers to Questions on the Findings of Inter-agency Task Force on Trafficking in Persons, Singapore Parliamentary Reports (11 November 2013), Vol. 90.
184. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2 at 304.
185. “US Annual Trafficking Report not an Accurate Representation of Singapore” The Straits Times (29 July 2015), online: The Straits Times <http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/manpower/us-annual-trafficking-report-not-an-accurate-representation-singapore>.
188. LIM, Yvonne, “Suspect Charged Under Prevention of Human Trafficking Act Faces More Charges” Today (29 April 2015), online: Channel NewsAsia <http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/suspect-charged-under/1814354.html>.
189. CHELVAN, Vanessa Paige, “Man Gets 75 months’ Jail in First Conviction Under New Human Trafficking Law” (19 February 2016), online: Channel NewsAsia <http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/man-gets-75-months-jail/2530006.html>.
190. Women’s Charter, supra note 166 at s. 140(1).
191. S. 2 of PHTA defines a child as an individual below eighteen years.
192. Tan Huisheng, supra note 180 at para. 28.
193. Women’s Charter, supra note 166 at s. 140(1)(d).
194. Ibid., at s. 140(1)(e).
195. The accused also faced charges of living in part on the immoral earnings of the PRC national and also for abetting an individual for having commercial sex with a minor under eighteen.
196. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
197. UK Modern Slavery Act, supra note 140 at s. 54.
198. California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010, California Civil Code, at s. 1714.43.
199. HARRIGAN, Nicholas M. and KOH, Chiu Yee, “Vital Yet Vulnerable: Mental and Emotional Health of South Asian Migrant Workers in Singapore”, Lien Centre for Social Innovation Social Insight Research Series (2014), online: Lien Centre for Social Innovation Social Insight Research <http://www.smu.edu.sg/sites/default/files/smu/news_room/Research Report_Vital Yet Vulnerable %28FINAL%29.pdf>.
200. Ibid., at 40.
201. AW Cheng Wei, “Human Trafficking: ‘More Awareness Needed’” The Straits Times (1 December 2015), online: The Straits Times <http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/human-trafficking-more-awareness-needed>.
202. NPA, supra note 163 at 15.
203. Emphasis added.
204. Emphasis added.
205. While the ACTIP is not without its weaknesses, it still serves as an important role to play within ASEAN as it sets minimum standards for collaboration. This is further elaborated on below in Part V, B.
206. The State Peace and Development Council Law No. 5/ 2005 [Myanmar Act].
207. Republic Act No. 9208, 2003 [Philippines Act].
208. Ibid., at s. 2 (emphasis added).
209. Ministry of the Interior, 23 January 2009 [Taiwan Act]. Taiwan was ranked Tier 1 in the 2015 US TIP Report.
210. Ibid., at art.17.
211. ACTIP, supra note 87 at art. 14.
212. Taiwan Act, supra note 209 at art. 24.
213. Ibid., at art. 27.
214. It should be noted that with any case before the Singapore courts, a court can order such proceedings to be conducted in camera if the court is satisfied it is “expedient in the interests of justice, public safety, public security or propriety, or for other sufficient reason to do so”. This is provided for under s. 7 of the State Courts Act, Cap. 321, Rev. Ed. 2007, and s. 8 of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, Cap. 322, Rev. Ed. 2007. However, the power of the court under these provisions to order that the proceedings are conducted in camera, remains discretionary.
215. WHAM, Jolovan, “Petition for the Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Trafficked Persons in Singapore” StopTraffickingSg (2014), online: StopTraffickingSg <https://stoptraffickingsg.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/stoptraffickingsg_petition.pdf>.
216. Taiwan Act, supra note 209 at art. 28.
217. Australian Government Department of Social Services, “Anti Human-Trafficking Strategy” (November 2014), online: Australian Government <https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/women/programs-services/reducing-violence/anti-human-trafficking-strategy>.
218. ACTIP, supra note 87 at art. 13.
219. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
222. Taiwan Act, supra note 209 at art. 29
223. Philippines Act, supra note 207 at s. 17
224. Myanmar Act, supra note 206 at s. 13.
225. ACTIP, supra note 87 at art. 14(7).
226. ACTIP, supra note 87 at art. 14(8).
227. U.S. Department of State, “US TIP Report 2010” (2010), online: U.S. Department of State <http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2010/>.
228. NPA, supra note 163 at 13.
229. U.S. Department of State, supra note 2.
230. ACTIP, supra note 87 at art. 15.
231. Taiwan Act, supra note 209 at art. 30.
232. Myanmar Act, supra note 206 at arts. 14, 15.
233. ACTIP, supra note 87 at art. 14(11).
234. Taiwan Act, supra note 209 at art. 28.
235. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
236. UK Modern Slavery Act, supra note 149 at ss. 7, 8.
237. Myanmar Act, supra note 206 at s. 33.
238. Cambodia Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation (2008), NS/RKM/0208/005, at arts. 46, 47, 48 [Cambodia Act].
239. Ibid., at art 46.
240. Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, supra note 123.
241. Cap. 68, Rev. Ed. 2012.
242. Cap. 65A, Rev. Ed. 2000.
243. One example of calculating the victims’ economic losses can be seen in the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (15 U.S.C. § 1593). It suggests that the “the term ‘full amount of the victim’s losses’ … shall … include the greater of the gross income or value to the defendant of the victim’s services or labour or the value of the victim’s labour as guaranteed under the minimum wage and overtime guarantees of the Fair Labor Standards Act”.
244. GUTIERREZ, Natashya, “In ASEAN, Women Empowerment Low on Priority List” Rappler (9 March 2015), online: Rappler <http://www.rappler.com/world/specials/southeast-asia/85777-acwc-asean-women>.
247. ASEAN, “Regional Haze Action Plan” (2015), online: Centre for International Law, NUS <https://cil.nus.edu.sg/rp/pdf/1997%20Regional%20Haze%20Action%20Plan-pdf.pdf>.
248. INAMA, Stefano and SIM, Edmund W., The Foundation of the ASEAN Economic Community (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015) at 239 .
249. Kranrattanasuit, supra note 39 at 88.
250. BRUNNER, Jessie, “Inaccurate Numbers, Inadequate Policies: Enhancing Data to Evaluate the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in ASEAN”, East-West Center (2015), online: East-West Centre <http://www.eastwestcenter.org/system/tdf/private/brunner-trafficking2015_3.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=35344>.
252. MTV Exit, supra note 22.
253. COOK, Alistair D.B. and HEINL, Caitríona H., “New Avenues for Regional Cooperation: Tackling Human Trafficking in Asia”, Rajaratnam School of International Studies, 3 April 2014, online: Rajaratnam School of International Studies <https://www.rsis.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CO14062.pdf>.
254. Ibid.; the author mentions that the Taken Campaign in London and the Redlight Traffic in the US have launched anti-trafficking mobile applications.
256. THOMAS, Thomas, MOHAN, Mahdev, and ANIL KUMAR, Jaya, “An ASEAN Plan for Corporate Citizenship?” Business Times (24 December 2015), online: Business Times <http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/opinion/an-asean-plan-for-corporate-citizenship> at 22.
* LLB (Hons), National University of Singapore. Former Research Assistant, Singapore Management University School of Law. I would like to thank Jacintha Gopal, Gillian Seetoh, and Melody Christa Chen for their dedicated research assistance, and Singapore Management University’s Assistant Professor Mahdev Mohan for his guidance. I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft. All errors remain mine.
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