The employment agency that drew flak for advertising maids and domestic helpers as commodities on an online retail marketplace has pleaded guilty to 45 charges under the Employment Agency Licence Conditions which includes “posting insensitive advertising.” An additional 99 charges will be considered during the hearing.
The offensive advertisements were posted on the online retail platform Carousell from Sept 1 to 17, 2018. The ads showed the photos and names of foreign domestic workers (FWD) who were presumed to be from Indonesia. The platform also allows the option of selecting prices from lowest to highest and branding those that have already been “sold.”
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has since suspended the license of SRC Recruitment in October 2018. Erleena Mohd Ali (41) the employee who initially posted the advertisements had been fined S$20,000 in Nov 2018. According to the statement, Ali had requested permission from SRC Recruitment to post online ads under the username “@maid.recruitment” of the FWDs using Carousell. She said her employer granted her permission to do so.
The MOM stated that the advertisements included “details that would cast the foreign domestic workers in a manner akin to a commodity that can be bought and sold.”
In addition, the advertisements on Carousell failed to include SRC recruitment’s complete name and licence number which is against labour regulations that aim to protect against illegal and unlicensed employment agencies.
Carousell has since taken down all the offensive advertisements.
Netizens were quick to point out that the advertisements are comparable to modern day slave auctions. Others noted that the employee who posted the ads was only doing her job, and that the agency should receive the weight of the punishment.
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