Over the past year, the Singapore authorities have intensified enforcement efforts to combat human trafficking, which local human rights advocates say remains a worrying problem, contributing to estimated annual profits in Asia of US$10 billion (S$12.9 billion).
In 2012, the police conducted 3,567 anti-commercial sex operations which led to the arrest of 203 commercial sex agents or "pimps", up from the 2,643 operations and 148 arrests made the year before.
Those arrested are investigated, and action is taken against them if necessary, said the Singapore Inter- agency Taskforce on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in an exclusive e-mail interview with The Sunday Times.
MFA rebuts US report on human rights
File photo of the Singapore skyline. (AFP/File - Roslan Rahman)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012 once again includes the same gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations of the government's laws and policies.
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the government takes the promotion and protection of human rights seriously.
MFA added that the government has and will continually work towards improving the lives of its people and advance their rights, and it would do so with or without the US Department of State's human rights report.
The ministry was responding to the US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012.
US report on human rights in Singapore 'inaccurate': MFA
People walk between Lucky Plaza and The Paragon on Nov 19, 2012. Singapore has refuted a United States report on human rights practices here again, saying it "includes the same gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations" the Government's laws and policies that it had rebutted in previous years. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Singapore has refuted a United States report on human rights practices here again, saying it "includes the same gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations" on the Government's laws and policies that it had rebutted in previous years.
In a strongly worded response sent to the United States Department of State, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it "note with disappointment" that its previous rebuttals went unheeded, and said this undermined the objectivity of the latest report.
The response came after the US State Department released its annual assessment of human rights practices of other countries. Its latest report on Singapore covered a range of aspects such as the use of caning as a punishment for certain crimes and the Internal Security Act which permits preventive detention without warrant.
S'pore urges US to adopt more objective methodology in human trafficking report
The Singapore Inter-Agency Taskforce on Trafficking-in-Persons (TIP) has called on the US Department of State (DOS) to adopt a more objective methodology to report countries' TIP efforts.
The taskforce said this would ensure that a consistent, transparent and measurable standard is applied to all countries taking into account the different legal structures and domestic contexts of countries highlighted in the report. The taskforce said the DOS TIP Report had generally captured Singapore's key TIP efforts.
US human trafficking report 'continues to present inaccuracies': Singapore
The Singapore Inter-agency Taskforce on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) has reviewed the US Department of State (DOS)'s TIP Report 2013.
While the DOS TIP Report has generally captured Singapore's key TIP efforts, we note that it continues to present inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have arisen from the lack of an objective methodology to take into account laws and domestic context in other countries that are different from the United States.
Singapore remains fully committed in our fight against TIP as we believe that this is the right thing to do to safeguard bona fide victims who fall prey to the scourge. This was our impetus to set up a dedicated Taskforce to coordinate a national effort against TIP, and the subsequent launch of a National Plan of Action (NPA) in 2012.
S’pore urges US to adopt more objective methodology in human trafficking report
The taskforce said this would ensure that a consistent, transparent and measurable standard is applied to all countries taking into account the different legal structures and domestic contexts of countries highlighted in the report.
The taskforce said the DOS TIP Report had generally captured Singapore’s key TIP efforts.
Remarks at the Annual Trafficking in Persons Report
To our TIP Report heroes who have made a very long journey on very short notice, we welcome you here and we’re very grateful for your efforts. And everybody here will get to share in the remarkable individual, personal journeys that they represent.
When we think of the scale of modern-day slavery – literally tens of millions who live in exploitation – this whole effort can seem daunting. But it’s the right effort. And there are countless voiceless people, countless nameless people except to their families or perhaps a phony name by which they are being exploited, who look to us for their freedom and for the possibility of life itself. It’s no understatement to say that we are working to tackle an issue that millions of people assumed had been dealt with a long time ago.
But the problem unfortunately persists, and I hate to say in some places can grow, and the challenge continues. And that is why the inspiring examples that are here today remind us not just that we have work to do, but that the actions of a single person can make all the difference in the world and they can actually bring so many lives out of bondage, out of the shadows, out of darkness. So I thank our TIP heroes for their very personal individual commitment, for the example that they set. And I thank all of you, those here and millions of others who are out there waging this battle. I thank them all for their commitment.
US, biggest human rights abuser, fingerpoints Sinkiepore for rights abuse
Americuh, the biggest human rights abuser, telling Sinkiepore to clean up its act on human rights issues
Imagine the biggest thief in town telling others to make an honest living. Imagine the biggest womanizer telling other men to watch their lustful behaviour. Imagine the worst alcoholic telling others to drink in moderation. That's Americuh we're talkin' about, folks.
That's right. Singapore uses the ISA to fight the "war on terror". The US uses the Patriot Act, eavesdrop on people's emails and of course, the dreaded Gitmo Bay treatment
The fact that Americuh, the biggest human rights abuser even dares to tell others to clean up their act, shows that nothing beats Americuh's arrogance and self-righteousness.
Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it.
The U.S. Government uses the TIP Report to engage foreign governments in dialogues to advance anti-trafficking reforms and to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs. Worldwide, the report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations alike as a tool to examine where resources are most needed. Freeing victims, preventing trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice are the ultimate goals of the report and of the U.S Government's anti-human trafficking policy.
In the TIP Report, the Department of State places each country onto one of three tiers based on the extent of their governments’ efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” found in Section 108 of the TVPA. While Tier 1 is the highest ranking, it does not mean that a country has no human trafficking problem. On the contrary, a Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards. Each year, governments need to demonstrate appreciable progress in combating trafficking to maintain a Tier 1 ranking.