So exactly where does Singapore stand in terms of prostitution and the law? Is prostitution legal?
In Part 2 of our debate on Prostitution in Singapore our panellists grapple with the legality of the business. According to lawyer Suresh it is a definition open to debate. While there is no penal provision that criminalises prostitution it is generally discouraged. There are licensed brothels that come under the control of the government. Here the girls must go for regular testing to make sure they do not have sexually transmitted diseases. But on the streets, where the girls can be seen openly prostituting themselves, the police conduct regular raids. More often it is the girls, rather than the pimps that are caught. Most of the girls are in Singapore on social visit passes and, if caught, are immediately deported but the pimps have a good system of letting everyone know that a raid is about to take place. They send out the word and everyone scrambles and then, if by magic, all the girls vanish. But the police have to strike a balance: if they hit too hard they will drive the business of prostitution underground. If that happens the girls become more vulnerable as they get far less protection. The girls who work in the unlicensed brothels can suffer a lot of abuse. As Lee Kuan Yew said in his memoirs: If it is visible, it’s containable. To find out more about this fascinating debate on prostitution in Singapore tune into Part 2 of Talkabout.
To discuss Singapore’s less attractive side of life we have a number of experts:
Host: Kenneth Liang
Speakers : Suresh Damodara, Saleemah Ismail, Timothy Weerasekera, Braema Mathi, Shih Shu Hui
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