Singapore government baffled by human trafficking downgrade by US

16 Jun 07

The Singapore government said Saturday it is baffled by the downgrading of the city-state in a US report on how countries deal with human trafficking.The report released in Washington by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pushed Singapore from Tier 1 to Tier 2.

“The Singapore government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however it is making significant efforts to do so,” said the US Department of State’s report ranking 164 countries.

Tier 1 lists countries that have basic legal safeguards in place. Tier 2 includes those that are making efforts to put laws in place to combat trafficking, while Tier 3 names the worst offenders.

The trafficking situation in Singapore has “remained stable over the past few years,” a Ministry of Home Affairs spokesman told The Straits Times.

“The US report has not satisfactorily explained how it arrived at its conclusion,” the spokesman said.

The report urged Singapore’s parliament to approve proposed amendments that would criminalize paid sex with anyone below 18, prosecute those seeking child sex overseas and make promotion of child-sex tours a criminal offence.

Most Tier 1 countries are developed Western nations with the exception of South Korea and Hong Kong

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