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In Indonesia, Leah had marital issues with her then-husband, and she had a young son to take care of. So when a trusted friend offered her a job in Singapore working at a restaurant, she jumped at the chance for a better life. That was a lie. Leah soon found herself being forced into sex work and held against her will in Singapore. But how do you catch a criminal with no name, no face and who routinely finds ways to escape getting caught?
They prey on them and promise them all the false job offers and a good salary. There is a level of deception between what they were told and what the real situation really is. Leah was made to walk to Lorong 12 Geylang on the first day of her job. Photo: Ainslee Asokan. She wants to help me. Arrangements were made for Leah to travel to Batam, where she took a ferry to Singapore. Along the way, she was meticulously coached by traffickers to avoid raising suspicion when questioned by immigration officers.
An hour after Leah arrived in Singapore, she was taken to a flat in Aljunied Crescent, where she had her passport, ID and documents stripped from her. She explained the increased penalties may assist victims of sex trafficking indirectly by deterring potential offenders.
However, lawyers CNA spoke to said prosecuting criminals who dupe and traffic remains difficult. This is because of how the syndicates work, with the ringleaders elusive. It is also not uncommon for the masterminds to move their operations and cover their tracks so as to avoid detection by the authorities.
File photo of man threatening a woman. Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo. When Leah realised she had been duped into sex work, she tried to escape. In desperation, she turned to one of the other women working with her for answers. Here you just work, here you just smell nice and speak nicely with the customers so the men will come to you and they will book you.