Singapore again refutes human trafficking report released by U.S.

13:18, August 02, 2011      

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An inter-agency taskforce of Singapore on trafficking in persons has released a detailed response of five pages to a recent U.S. report on human trafficking, local daily Straits Times reported on Tuesday.

The response was sent to the United States on Monday, weeks after the government reiterated and pointed out "inaccuracies and misrepresentations" in the latest annual report released by the U. S. State Department released in June, the newspaper said.

The U.S. report upgraded the ranking of Singapore to Tier Two, which means that it is among a group of countries making efforts to meet the U.S. standard of human trafficking but does not yet meet the standards. Singapore has earlier said it noted the change to Singapore's ranking but is dismayed to find the report riddled with inaccuracies.

The report claimed that forced labor on fishing vessels has been found to have originated from Singapore, and that no trafficking victims were offered medical and other services at shelters in the past year. It is also "unabashed" in awarding the United States itself the top ranking, whereas U.S. mainstream media also reported on teenagers coerced into prostitution in the United States are treated not as trafficking victims but as miscreants who are arrested and prosecuted.

"As is well known, the United States also suffers from serious problems with illegal immigrants, many of whom are trafficked by well-organized criminal gangs which seem to be able to operate with impunity. On any objective criteria, the United States has a more serious TIP (trafficking in persons report) problem compared with Singapore," Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.

"The report also seems to assume that the domestic processes of all countries reviewed are the same as that of the United States," it said, adding that U.S. Senator James Webb also said there are some inconsistencies in the report.

"Perhaps this incongruity could be explained by the fact that the Report does not apply a consistent, transparent, and measurable standard for all countries," the ministry has said.

The taskforce said it has found new inaccuracies in the response on Monday.

The taskforce includes representatives from the Singapore Police Force and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and is co-chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Manpower.

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