Indonesian workers offered for sale at Carousell; MOM is researching

On September 14, Friday morning, a netizen went on the popular Facebook page All Singapore Stuff to alert people to an advertisement that blatantly advertised domestic helpers from Indonesia at the online marketplace Carousell. The user, @ maid.recruitment, had placed full photos of the women's face and even marked some helpers as "sold". After the offer was reported, the Ministry of Manpower became involved in the investigation.

All Singapore things Facebook screengrab

Carousell, an online marketplace in Singapore, offers buying and selling various items. Clothing, shoes and electronic devices are the goods that are usually auctioned on Carousell, but unusual and funny things appear from time to time.

There was nothing funny about what Netizen Michael S. discovered on Carousell. The list of users of Singapore @ maid.recruitment concerned home workers from Indonesia, complete with clear photos of their faces and personal descriptions. Some employee mentions were even marked as "sold". The list, which resulted in a request from the Ministry of MFS (Singapore or Ministry of Manpower), has now been removed by Carousell.

Carousell, who cooperated and assisted MOM in his investigations, clarified that there was no actual "sale" and if it were to happen, it would be immediately removed from the platform.

A Carousell representative confirmed that "the display or sharing of personal data of individuals is strictly prohibited because it violates our guidelines."

On the evening of September 14, MOM issued a strict statement on the evening of September 14, stating that they are "aware of cases in which foreign domestic staff (FDWs) are in the wrong way on the online purchase- and sales site, Carousell, we investigate these cases and have arranged for these listings to be removed. "

MOM is aware of cases in which foreign domestic staff (FDW) are put on the market inappropriately for online purchases and …

Posted by Singapore Ministry of Manpower on Friday September 14, 2018

MOM continued to say that "advertising foreign home staff (FDWs) as merchandise is absolutely unacceptable and a legal offense under Article 11 (1) (c) of the Employment Agency Act," it states that an employment agency (EA) may not act "in a way that could harm the interests of the licensee's customers."

Licenses for violating EAs are suspended or withdrawn and it is a violation to continue doing business without a valid license. There are also fines up to $ 80,000 and potential prison sentences up to 2 years. Even those who use the services of an EA without a license can also get a fine of up to $ 5,000.

MOM urged the EA & # 39; s to be responsible and review the guidelines they have issued on responsible advertising practices for EA & # 39; s.

In turn, MOM advised the public to contract the services of only MOM-licensed EAs and shared with the online EA Directory (, which the agencies shows who are legally present.

One of the more urgent issues here, besides the legal aspect of it, is the questionable ethics behind the way people were "advertised." It is very similar to modern slavery, where, with personal personal data of people and photos, interested employers can "get" helpers.

A Facebook user agreed that the problem was related to "slavery":

All Singapore things Facebook screengrab

One tidy carousel for "selling" people when even pets are not allowed to be sold:

All Singapore things Facebook screengrab

A netizen alluded to another dubious "service" usually found in Asia (the Asian "mail order wedding service"):

All Singapore things Facebook screengrab

And a sarcastic commentator compared it all to how girls today "advertise" themselves on Instagram:

All Singapore things Facebook screengrab

This controversy is in line with the recent discussions on the proper treatment and reimbursement of foreign household workers in Singapore, so that Singapore does not experience a "health drain" and that FDWs have more public spaces where they can relax and congregate in their 1 day per week without disturbing others.

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