The outlaw ocean – human trafficking and other crimes, part 3

Ian Urbina, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, spent years researching the abuses in Southeast Asia’s fishing industry. In the above video, he visits a detention centre in Indonesia where he meets with (mostly Vietnamese) men who had been detained when their fishing vessels were arrested in Indonesian waters. Bring only fishing crew,...

The outlaw ocean – human trafficking and other crimes, part 2

Abuses aboard fishing vessels in Southeast Asian waters would be a shock and disgrace to our countries if not for their being largely “out of sight” and “out of mind”. There is deception in recruitment, inhuman conditions of work, uncertainties over salary and the inability to leave the trawlers even when workers have had enough....

The outlaw ocean – human trafficking and other crimes, part 1

Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) has long highlighted the plight of men recruited into the fishing industry from neighbouring countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam. The deception inherent in recruitment, the abusive conditions in work, uncertainties over salary and the inability to leave the trawlers even when workers have had enough, all...

How some employers cheat both the government and workers

In June a year ago, we wrote about the Everglory scam. It’s not confined to Everglory Construction Pte Ltd but is in fact quite a common scam. Since the first cases emerged in early 2018, Transient Workers Count Too has seen a new case every few days. The earlier article described how the scam works....

More of here, less of there: increase in repeat workers and fat profits for the underground job broker in Singapore

The recruitment landscape for non-domestic Work Permit holders has changed dramatically in just a few short years. About 80% of these workers are ‘repeat workers’ i.e. they have had a job here before their current ones. This is a big change from only four years ago when we found a slight majority on their first...

Paper laws and how workers’ wages are stolen

Proving a salary claim requires evidence. So we ask our interviewees whether they were paid in cash or through their bank accounts. Bank transfers create an audit trail that will prove how much employers paid (or didn’t pay), whereas cash leaves no trail at all and thus disadvantages the worker in his claim. Ripon was...

Transfer was a sham, settlement agreement was dubious, only the paddyfield was real

By Yasha S based on an interview in January 2019 For 47-year old labourer Motaleb Abdul, seeking justice for what he is owed seems like a never-ending game of disappointment. Despite having a salary settlement agreement drawn by Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), he has yet to be paid by his Singaporean boss —...

Ask the insurance company

Most injured workers who seek help from TWC2 have engaged a law firm to assist with their injury claim.  Although legal assistance is not necessary for the no-fault work injury compensation (WIC) process at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), many workers feel more secure having an injury lawyer.  Perhaps the worker is unsure how to...

Foreign construction workers continue to reduce, no improvement in productivity

The number of Work Permit holders in the construction industry has gradually declined since a peak in 2015. Last December (2018), there were 280,500 Work Permit holders in this sector, fourteen percent below the 2015 figure of 326,000. To a large degree, the fall in the number of foreign construction workers mirrors the contraction of...

Employer unafraid of workers taking salary claims to the authorities

By L. Narasimhan based on an interview in March 2019 “I wander around the city, going from place to place trying to find a new job,” says Sukhwinder Singh, when I ask him what he has been doing for the past three months. “I wake up in my apartment, eat at Gurudwara [temple], and then go...