• Sunday, Feb 23, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:49 pm

Indian couple jailed in Singapore for exploiting Bangladeshi women

  • Published at 02:55 pm February 12th, 2020
Singapore
Police officers and members of the public watch as migrant workers from China gather at the Ministry of Manpower building in Singapore on April 27, 2009 Reuters

The two Indian nationals were given a prison term of five years and six months each after they were found guilty of exploiting three Bangladeshi women they recruited to dance at nightclubs they ran in Singapore

An Indian couple was sentenced to more than five years in jail in Singapore on Tuesday for exploiting Bangladeshi female migrants, the first labour trafficking conviction in the affluent nation that is home to many foreign workers.

The two Indian nationals were given a prison term of five years and six months each after they were found guilty of exploiting three Bangladeshi women they recruited to dance at nightclubs they ran in Singapore.

The pair was also given a fine, while the male owner of the nightclubs was ordered by the court to pay nearly $3,600 in unpaid wages, according to a spokesman from Singapore's Manpower Ministry.

"Both intend to appeal against their convictions and sentences. They are out on bail," the spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email.

The Southeast Asian nation of 5.6 million depends on about one million migrant workers from countries like Indonesia, China and Myanmar to power its economy, working in sectors from construction to manufacturing and domestic care.

The case was the first conviction since Singapore introduced a law in 2015 in a bid to fight human trafficking, which labour rights groups say migrant workers are most vulnerable to.

Offenders can face up to 10 years in jail, whipping and a fine under the law. There were two other labour trafficking cases pending in court.

Court documents showed the couple had subjected the women to verbal abuse, controlled their movement and confiscated their passports.

The couple was also found guilty of forcing one of the women into sex work.

The prosecution has said the three Bangladeshi women had to work every day and the couple did not pay at least two of them their monthly salary of BDT60,000.

The government has warned employers that it would take strong action to prevent trafficking cases.

Singapore was ranked "Tier 2" in the latest US Trafficking in Persons Report for not fully meeting minimum standards when it comes to eliminating human trafficking.