CNA: National Plan of Action launched to combat human trafficking

SINGAPORE: Singapore launched its National Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons that will take its fight against human trafficking more holistically and strategically.

The plan seeks to provide a common language and definition for trafficking aimed at enhancing the processes in victim identification and protection.

A significant change involves the training of some 10,000 frontline officers.

Standard operating procedures will be altered when it concerns the referral of cases and investigation process.

Investigations will be less offence centric.

This means those found to be victims of human trafficking will be treated as such.

They should be immuned from other offences such as overstaying or prostitution.

Authorities also plan to set up specialised enforcement teams to combat sex and labour trafficking by end 2013.

Current laws are being reviewed.

One of the ideas being considered is whether there should a dedicated law on Human Trafficking.

This review is expected to be completed by end 2013.

Other plans in the works include the possibility of a dedicated human trafficking hotline and a review of the adequacy of current shelter facilities for victims.

The National Plan of Action comes after a series of consultations with stakeholders including non government agencies and foreign governments.

An inter-agency taskforce was set up in November 2010 to work towards this.

Launching the plan on Wednesday, Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said Singapore, with its high people flow is an attractive platform for human trafficking.

He added that while Trafficking in Persons is not a severe problem in Singapore, sex trafficking and signs of labour-related exploitation do exist.

- CNA/ck