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Shedding light on Rudi's case

In the online article “Working for No Pay at a Pasar Malam: Indonesian Migrant Worker Deceived & Exploited in Singapore”, HOME portrayed an Indonesian national Rudi (a pseudonym) as a victim of human trafficking, presumably based on Rudi’s account. Rudi was said to have been deceived into working in Singapore after responding to a Facebook job advertisement, made to work and live in unacceptable conditions for two months and was not paid for his work at all.

The article claimed that MOM agreed not to prosecute Rudi for working on an “invalid pass” and did not help him pursue his salary claim as he had been “working illegally”. In addition, Rudi was promptly deported after being issued with an “Order of Removal” letter. HOME said it had filed a trafficking referral with Rudi’s consent but were uncertain if investigations had been carried out by the authorities against Rudi’s employer.

HOME had presented an inaccurate picture.

MOM had indeed given Rudi the benefit of doubt, and treated him as a victim by not prosecuting him for the illegal employment. It is however, untrue that Rudi faced immediate deportation after lodging a report. It is also untrue that MOM did not help pursue his salary claim. Rudi’s case was investigated, and the limited information he provided was followed up on. Unfortunately, they did not result in successful identification of his alleged employer. MOM had offered to place him on temporary employment while his case was being investigated, but Rudi did not wish to pursue this case further and requested to quickly return home.

Several criteria need to be met before a case may be considered human trafficking. Rudi’s case was clearly not one of human trafficking as it did not meet the “forced labour” criteria. He was able to move about freely, contact anyone he wished and was free to leave employment at any point.