Couple first in Singapore charged for labour trafficking under Prevention of Human Trafficking Act

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man and his Nepalese wife have become the first here to be charged for labour trafficking under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act.

52-year old Balakrishnan s/o Jaganathan and 29-year old Khema Bhatta each face seven charges under the Act for "abusing their power as employers to harbour and exploit seven female Bangladeshi women".

The accused were the Director and Manager of a Hindi music pub, Taraana Pte. Ltd. The women were performing artistes at Taraana.

The Manpower Minister said in a press statement today (May 20) that it has taken "necessary steps to ensure that the seven Bangladeshi women are provided with the appropriate care," which according to the ministry, includes counselling.

MOM also said that it has facilitated the victims to gain interim employment under the Temporary Job Scheme (TJS) to help in their rehabilitation process.

If found guilty, the couple could be fined up to $100,000, caned up to six strokes, and jailed up to 10 years.