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Prostitution in Singapore is legal, but various prostitution-related activities are not. This includes public solicitation, living on the earnings of a prostitute and maintaining a brothel. In practice, police unofficially tolerates and monitors a limited number of brothels. Prostitutes in such establishments are required to undergo periodic health checks and must carry a health card.[1] Apart from these regulated brothels, commercial sex workers can be found in many "massage" or "spa" establishments. Some massage parlours, including tui na outlets, employ scantily clad women from mainland China and offer massages as a pretext for sexual services. These activities are illegal, and the operators of such massage establishments risk jail if exposed by anti-vice police raids. Yet, virtually everyone who visits such establishments is fully aware of the sexual services provided within, and are there precisely because of it. The main red-light district in Singapore is in Geylang. Orchard Towers, nicknamed the "Four Floors Of Whores", is a shopping centre frequented by prostitutes. Some bars in Duxton Hill also offer sexual services.

Under current laws, having sex with women under 16 is considered statutory rape, punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of S$10,000 (US$6,900).[2]

Contents

Books

Singapore's sex trade was explored in the 2004 book Invisible Trade: High-class Sex for Sale in Singapore by Singaporean author Gerrie Lim. A sequel to this book was released in 2008 by the publisher Monsoon Books.

There is another book Singapore Sex Guide 2010 written by a Hong Kong-born Singapore Permanent Resident Roger Tan which is sold only through his blog site where he used to narrate his experiences which had now become the contents of his book.

Law

Commercial sex with underaged persons

Any person who obtains for consideration the sexual services of a person under 18 years of age (in other words, has commercial sex with such a person) commits an offence and may be punished with imprisonment of up to seven years or a fine or both.[3] The term sexual services is defined to mean sexual services involving sexual penetration of the vagina or anus of a person by a part of another person's body other than the penis or by anything else, or penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth of a person by a man's penis.[4] It is also an offence for a person to communicate with another person for the purpose of having commercial sex with a person under 18.[5] These offences apply to acts that take place in as well as outside Singapore.[6]

It is a crime for a person to:

  • make or organize any travel arrangements for or on behalf of any other person with the intention of facilitating the commission by that other person of an offence under section 376C (that is, offences relating to commercial sex with a minor under 18 outside Singapore), whether or not such an offence is actually committed by that other person;[7]
  • transport any other person to a place outside Singapore with the intention of facilitating the commission by that other person of an offence under section 376C, whether or not such an offence is actually committed by that other person;[8] or
  • print, publish or distribute any information that is intended to promote conduct that would constitute an offence under section 376C, or to assist any other person to engage in such conduct.[9]

A person who is guilty of the offence may be punished with imprisonment of up to ten years, or a fine, or both.[10]

Non-commercial sex with underaged persons

According to section 376A of the Penal Code, any person (A) who:

  • penetrates, with A's penis, the vagina, anus or mouth, as the case may be, of a person under 16 years of age (B);
  • sexually penetrates, with a part of A's body (other than A's penis) or anything else, the vagina or anus, as the case may be, of a person under 16 (B);
  • causes a man under 16 (B) to penetrate, with B's penis, the vagina, anus or mouth, as the case may be, of another person including A; or
  • causes a person under 16 (B) to sexually penetrate, with a part of B's body (other than B's penis) or anything else, the vagina or anus, as the case may be, of any person including A or B,

with or without B's consent, shall be guilty of an offence.[11] In general, the penalty is imprisonment of up to ten years, or a fine, or both.[12] However, if the offence is committed against a person (B) who is under 14, the perpetrator shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to 20 years, and shall also be liable to fine or to caning.[13]

Under the Women's Charter, it is a criminal offence for a man to have carnal connection with any girl below the age of 16 years unless he is married to the girl.[14] This is a less serious offence than section 376A of the Penal Code as the maximum penalty is imprisonment not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.[15] If the man was below 21 years of age at the time of the alleged offence, it is a valid defence to a charge that he had a reasonable mistaken belief that the girl was of or above 16. However, he cannot rely on this defence if he has previously been charged in court with the same offence, or offences under sections 376A, 376B, 376C or 376E of the Penal Code,[16] or section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act.[17][18]

Pimping

It is a criminal offence to:

  • sell, let for hire or otherwise dispose of or buy or hire or otherwise obtain possession of any woman or girl with intent that she shall be employed or used for the purpose of prostitution either within or without Singapore, or knowing or having reason to believe that she will be so employed or used;[19]
  • procure any woman or girl to have either within or without Singapore carnal connection except by way of marriage with any male person or for the purpose of prostitution either within or without Singapore;[20]
  • by threats or intimidation procure any woman or girl to have carnal connection except by way of marriage with any male person either within or without Singapore;[21]
  • bring into Singapore, receive or harbour any woman or girl knowing or having reason to believe that she has been procured for the purpose of having carnal connection except by way of marriage with any male person or for the purpose of prostitution either within or without Singapore and with intent to aid such purpose;[22]
  • knowing or having reason to believe that any woman or girl has been procured by threats or intimidation for the purpose of having carnal connection except by way of marriage with any male person, either within or without Singapore, to receive or harbour her with intent to aid such purpose;[23]
  • knowing or having reason to believe that any woman or girl has been brought into Singapore in breach of section 142 of the Women's Charter or has been sold or purchased in breach of section 140(1)(a), to receive or harbour her with intent that she may be employed or used for the purpose of prostitution either within or without Singapore;[24]
  • detain any woman or girl against her will on any premises with the intention that she shall have carnal connection except by way of marriage with any male person, or detain any woman or girl against her will in a brothel;[25]
  • detain any woman or girl in any place against her will with intent that she may be employed or used for the purpose of prostitution or for any unlawful or immoral purpose; or[26]
  • attempt to do any of the above acts.[27]

The penalty is imprisonment not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.[15] A male person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offence under the first six offences listed above[28] is liable to be caned in addition to being imprisoned.[29]

Trafficking in women and girls

See Human trafficking in Singapore.

Notes

  1. ^ [card.http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/eap/119056.htm]
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Penal Code (Cap. 224, 2008 Rev. Ed.), s. 376B(1). It is not an offence to obtain sexual services from one's own spouse: s. 376B(3).
  4. ^ Penal Code, s. 376B(4).
  5. ^ Penal Code, s. 376B(2); the penalty is imprisonment for up to two years, a fine, or both.
  6. ^ Penal Code, s. 376C.
  7. ^ Penal Code, s. 376D(1)(a).
  8. ^ Penal Code, s. 376D(1)(b).
  9. ^ Penal Code, s. 376D(1)(c). Publication of information means the publication of information by any means, whether by written, electronic or other form of communication: s. 376D(2).
  10. ^ Penal Code, s. 376D(3).
  11. ^ Penal Code, s. 376A(1). An act of penetration is not an offence against one's spouse if the spouse consents: s. 376A(4).
  12. ^ Penal Code, s. 376A(2).
  13. ^ Penal Code, s. 376A(3).
  14. ^ Women's Charter (Cap. 353, 1997 Rev. Ed.), s. 140(1)(i).
  15. ^ a b Women's Charter, s. 140(1).
  16. ^ Penal Code, ss. 376A, 376B, 376C and 376D respectively criminalize sexual penetration of a minor under 16 years, commercial sex with a minor under 18, commercial sex with a minor under 18 outside Singapore, and tours outside Singapore for commercial sex with a minor under 18.
  17. ^ Children and Young Persons Act (Cap. 38, 2001 Rev. Ed.), s. 7, states: "Any person who, in public or private — (a) commits or abets the commission of or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any person of any obscene or indecent act with any child or young person; or (b) procures or attempts to procure the commission of any obscene or indecent act by any child or young person, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 4 years or to both."
  18. ^ Women's Charter, ss. 140(4) and (5).
  19. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(1)(a).
  20. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(1)(b).
  21. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(1)(c).
  22. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(1)(d).
  23. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(1)(e).
  24. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(1)(f).
  25. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(1)(g).
  26. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(1)(h).
  27. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(1)(j).
  28. ^ Women's Charter, ss. 140(1)(a) to (f).
  29. ^ Women's Charter, s. 140(2).

Further reading

Articles

Books

  • Brazil, David (1993), No Money No Honey, Singapore: Angsana Books, ISBN 9810051298 (pbk.)  .
  • Lai, Ah Eng (1986), Peasants, Proletarians, and Prostitutes: A Preliminary Investigation into the Work of Chinese Women in Colonial Malaya, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISBN 9789971988388  .
  • Lim, Gerrie (2004), Invisible Trade: High-class Sex for Sale in Singapore, Singapore: Monsoon Books, ISBN 9810510330 (pbk.)  .
  • Lim, Gerrie (2008), Invisible Trade II: Secret Lives and Sexual Intrigue in Singapore, Singapore: Monsoon Books, ISBN 9789810592097 (pbk.)  .
  • Nicholl-Jones, S.E. (1941), Report on the Problem of Prostitution in Singapore, [Singapore]: [s.n.]  .
  • Warren, James Francis (1993), Ah Ku and Karayuki-san: Prostitution in Singapore, 1870–1940, Singapore; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195886160  .

External links








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