Crack down on sex industry

It is disturbing to find out that it is fairly common for individuals here to reap handsome profits by robbing others of their dignity and freedom ("Taking aim at human trafficking"; last Saturday).

In Singapore, the issue of human trafficking overlaps that of exploitation of women in the sexual service industry.

Yet, this does not seem to have provoked an enraged response from local women's non-governmental organisations.

This could partly be due to a lack of awareness of the situation, or perhaps the assumption that women in this industry are in it by choice.

It is more rational to assume that most women would not enter the industry unless they are forced by circumstance, are coerced, or have simply accepted their fate and decided to make the most of it.

Certainly, a minority provide sexual services willingly and defend their right to do so as an expression of their freedom to choose their own path.

The article mentioned that prostitution is not illegal in Singapore, but foreigners are prohibited from working in the commercial sex industry.

Yet, it seems the majority of sex workers here are foreigners. Is this a case of the authorities turning a blind eye - not just to the nationality of sex workers but also to how these women were sourced, which could be by coercion?

If we are truly serious about helping women who have been exploited and forced into such a horrible fate, then we have to ask tough questions about the sex industry and why it is a sacred cow that cannot be slaughtered.

Have we studied the effects of cracking down on this industry?

If we are to learn anything from the Little India riot, it is that nowhere should the law be applied in a laissez-faire manner, simply because enforcement would be too huge an undertaking and upset a "balanced" state of affairs.

There should not be places given up wholesale to unlawful groups or activities.

Mohamed Yazeed

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