There are an estimated 19,00 people living in conditions of slavery in Singapore (HIS 2018), however it has been noted that substantial data gaps exist for Central and East Asia subregions. Singapore remains a popular destination country for men, women and girls from other Asian countries subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Women are often lured to the country with promise of jobs, only to be forced in to commercial sexual exploitation. Singapore also remains a proponent of child sexual exploitation, with people traveling from outside the country to engage in child sex. Moreover, with much of the trade having moved online, it is becoming more difficult to identify and rescue victims.
Lilis was 14 years old when she was convinced by her friends to travel to Singapore for work. However, upon arrival Lilis was taken to a hotel and forced to provide sexual services to men. Lillis was eventually able to escape when one of her customers realized she was being held against her will and helped her run away. Lilis found help at Hagar Singapore.
Two of my friends asked me to go to Singapore to work as a babysitter or work at cafes.
I was happy. I could go to Singapore, work in Singapore. Before reaching Singapore, I stopped over in Batam. That’s when they told me the real job.
They told me to serve men and brought me to a hotel. The place was filled with women I nsexy clothing. I was told that I had to wear revealing clothes. I tild them I couldn’t, I couldn’t do that. But they forced me to do it.
I felt scared, sad and angry at the same time. I never told anyone about it, or didn’t tell anyone in detail.
I couldn’t go anywhere and only my agent had the key. I wasn’t allowed to make any noise. There was a man who asked for me. My agent said, ‘Just go with him, she is new, still new.’ I cried, I said I couldn’t do this.
He asked me to run, to escape and stop doing this.
It was a coincidence there was a key left in the door. I hadn’t washed my face, hadn’t had my breakfast. We just ran.
The taxi driver could speak Malay, so we told him everything. And he immediately offered to take us to the police station.
I am happy and grateful that there are people willing to help. I’m not scared to go overseas to work anymore. But it has to be a good job and we have to take care of ourselves. I must get to know the person very well.
Narrative courtesy of Hagar Singapore