Dear Supporters of our joint #StopTraffickignSG campaign, please send the letter below to your MP to ask her/him to support the key recommendations identified by the #StopTraffickingSG coalition for a victim-centric bill.
The 2nd reading of the bill is scheduled for 3 November 2014. This short window of opportunity between now to next Monday is crucial to making the anti-trafficking bill an effective one in protecting the needs of trafficked victims so that they are empowered to report and testify against their traffickers.
Please send the letter today, if you can.
Dear [name of MP],
My name is [name] and I am a constituent in [name of constituency]. I am writing to ask you, as my elected representative, to support StopTraffickingSG!’s campaign recommendations when the Prevention of Human Trafficking Bill, which MP Christopher de Souza has tabled, is discussed in Parliament in early November.
The StopTraffickingSg campaign advocates for the inclusion of victims’ rights in the proposed bill. Its three core recommendations are that
Victims have the right to accommodation, food, counseling services, legal aid, medical treatment, compensation and social support while their case is ongoing.
Victims are not prosecuted for being an undocumented immigrant or for working ‘illegally’ or for any illegal immigration infractions inadvertently committed while being trafficked; and
Victims have the right to work and a decent income while their case is ongoing.
Ultimately, in order to combat trafficking in persons, we should be empowering victims of trafficking to report their own cases. Currently, the fear of reprisal from immigration authorities, police officers, and their traffickers, discourage trafficked victims from reporting their cases directly to the police. victims do not make police reports because they are afraid of the reprisals they stand to face from immigration authorities, police officers, and their traffickers.
Moreover, as a constituent, I want to express my concern about the huge extension of discretionary powers to police and non-police enforcement officers. These powers allow such officers to arrest and forcibly gain entry to premises without warrant, and to be armed with batons and accoutrements “as are necessary”. Trafficking raids are extremely violent and may result in the secondary traumatisation of vulnerable trafficking victims. They are also counterproductive as traumatised and disempowered trafficking victims are actually less likely to contribute to successful prosecutions of traffickers.
As you know, Singapore is currently classified as a Tier 2 country in the US government’s trafficking watch list. This means that while Singapore has made efforts to comply with its minimum standards for protecting victims of human trafficking, but has not yet met those standards. I believe that Singapore could do more to protect such vulnerable people, and that the recommendations provided by StopTraffickingSG! are clear and straightforward.
Thank you for reading this letter and addressing my concerns as a constituent. I look forward to hearing your response.