SINGAPORE – An employment agency that advertised foreign domestic workers on the Carousell online marketplace as if they were commodities was fined S$78,000 on Tuesday (April 30).
The penalty imposed on SRC Recruitment, which still operates a website touting the largest collection of biographical data of online maids in Singapore, was significantly higher than the S$20,000 fine its employee received after he the idea and having executed it.
In demanding a hefty fine, prosecutor Vala M of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had argued that the case involved an employment agency that was aware of the rules and regulations governing advertisements of foreign domestic workers, but who had nevertheless committed the offences.
SRC Recruitment, which was located in MacPherson, was convicted of 45 charges under the Employment Agencies Act last month. Ninety-nine other similar charges were considered at sentencing.
The bulk of the charges against SRC Recruitment related to insensitive advertising, which includes presenting workers’ biographical data in a way that casts them in an “undignified light”.
The company had allowed its employee, Erleena Mohd Ali, to post the biographical data of 49 Indonesian housekeepers on Carousell for potential employers to view and choose, and even compare prices, under the username “maid.recruitment”. “.
When a worker was selected, Erleena changed the worker’s status to “sold”. She also used terms such as “reserved”, “collection” and “status” in her posts.
Her boss, Koh Seng Yeow, holder of the key SRC Recruitment job, was the one who allowed Erleena to post the biographical data on the platform, the court heard.
On Tuesday, Ms Vala said posting photos of domestic workers on Carousell was akin to treating them like a “commodity”, pointing out that the way maids were listed was “no less than a abuse, not physically but one that affects the individual mentally”.
‘To be priced, with personal details and photos left for public viewing as a commodity to be purchased is absolutely demeaning,’ Ms Vala added.
In a news release sent after the sentencing, MOM said it served SRC Recruitment with a license revocation notice earlier this month.