SINGAPORE- When Ann (not her real name) heard from a fellow Filipina in early 2012 that she could make a lucrative living as a pub hostess in Singapore, the 21-year-old jumped at the chance.
"Lovely", the 31-year-old woman who promised her the job, told her she would have to dance, chat and laugh with customers who, in return, would buy premium-priced "ladies' drinks" from which she would earn a cut. But first, Ann had to agree to pay back the cost of bringing her to Singapore.
This could range from $2,500 to $3,900, depending on whether women like Ann had to first be flown to Manila if they did not live there.
It was only when she arrived in Singapore that Ann learnt that her new job required her to perform sexual services for pub patrons.
She got the news at Changi Airport when she was met by Govindaraju Sivakumar, who told Ann she had to prostitute herself. The 40-year-old Singaporean is the husband of "Lovely", a Filipina whose real name is Sharon Trinidad Lorenzo.
At the time, Govindaraju was the owner of Club Milagro and Givande pubs in Keong Saik Road and Club Rendezvous in Kampong Bahru Road.
Police investigations revealed that he had arranged for 26 women, aged between 20 and 32, to offer sexual services to customers at his pubs.
In a case of a human trafficker brought to book, Govindaraju was sentenced on Dec 11 to 18 months in jail and fined $3,000 for living off the earnings of prostitutes.
Two days later, Lorenzo was sentenced to three months in jail for recruiting women to offer sexual services at her husband's pubs.
Court documents show that while many of the women brought into Singapore by Lorenzo knew their pub jobs involved sex, some had no idea they would become sex workers.