Between September 7 and 8, fourteen women were arrested by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in a series of raids focused against vice activities.
A news release from the SPF said that these women were between the ages of 20 and 52 faced arrests for offenses that are prostitution related according to the Women’s Charter.
The release also said that the women had put out advertisements on social media and had used hotels and flats on Jalan Sultan and Smith Street, Jalan Besar, Eu Tong Sen Street, Albert Street and Temple Street for their services. The SPF has counseled the owners of hotels and flats not to allow such activities on their premises, and are still continuing with their investigations.
While prostitution is legal in Singapore, brothels must obtain a license to operate. Should any operator fail to comply, they could be fined up to $10,000 or face five years jail time.
The SPF released photos of the women who were arrested for prostitution-related activities, showing some of them to be wearing saris, while others looked more South East Asian.
While some netizens expressed their surprise at the women’s looks, a majority of the commenters proved sympathetic to the women, chiding their fellow Singaporeans to “count (their) blessings that you’re born locally.”
At a time when many online comments are derisive, unpleasant and sometimes downright antagonistic, it was unusual to see so many netizens who showed compassion and understanding toward the women
Others surmised that they may have gotten trapped into prostitution
Yet others believe that need drove them to the trade
Others said that there was no need to have shown these women’s photos in the media, and that this was insensitive to the women’s feelings
Others decried the commenters who were scornful of the women’s looks, calling this out as racism