An Indian-origin Singaporean and his Nepalese wife have become the first to be charged for labour trafficking activities in Singapore after they were found harbouring and exploiting seven Bangladeshi female staff in a music pub, the government said today.
Balakrishnan, 52, and his wife Khema Batta, 29, are the first to be charged for labour trafficking activities under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act here, the Channel News Asia reported.
The Ministry of Manpower said in a statement that Balakrishnan and Khema were the director and manager of a Hindi music pub “Taraana” where the seven women were performing artists.
The couple are facing seven charges each under the Act for abusing their power as employers to harbour and exploit the women, the ministry said.
The ministry said it has taken steps to ensure the seven Bangladeshi women are provided with appropriate care.
“Our investigation officers are visiting them regularly to check on both their physical and mental well-being. We have also engaged professional counselling services to look after their emotional needs,” it said.
“To help in their rehabilitation process, we have facilitated the victims to gain interim employment under the Temporary Job Scheme (TJS),” the ministry said.
Any person who is found guilty of an offence under Section 3 of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act 2014, in the case of a first offence, shall be fined up to Singapore dollars 100,000 with imprisonment of up to 10 years and shall be liable to caning of up to six strokes of the cane.