Jail for woman who hired social escorts, including 16-year-old girl, for sex work

Jail for woman who hired social escorts, including 16-year-old girl, for sex work

France has passed a law punishing the clients of prostitutes, following in the footsteps of Sweden,
(File photo: AFP/Valery Hache)

SINGAPORE: Over four years, a woman ran a modelling and social escort company which she used to arrange sex work for female models including a 16-year-old girl, earning about S$30,000.

Farlynda Tan, 38, was given five months' jail and fined S$920 on Friday (Feb 19) for two charges under the Women's Charter of procuring a girl for prostitution and living on S$920 of her earnings. 

The court heard that Tan used to work as a freelance model and social escort, before opening her own modelling and social escort company under the aliases Alexa and Elixir Wong.

Using her network of clubs and customers, Tan hired models and social escorts and gave them jobs which included accompanying men. 

She knew that this companionship involved sexual services, referring to this as "intimacy", and put up advertisements on Carousell seeking models.

Tan operated her company for three to four years, receiving about S$30,000 from the sex work by the models in her firm. She arranged about two such assignments each month, charging customers between S$1,300 and S$1,500 for each assignment and earning 40 per cent of the earnings from sex work.

In April 2019, a 16-year-old female student searching for a job came across Tan's advertisement for a freelance model on Carousell.

The teen contacted Tan, who told her there were two types of events available for fast cash, including "companionship dates" and "escort".

After discussing the terms of employment, Tan told her that her assignments would require her to be a "girlfriend" to customers, with "intimacy" involved.

The victim asked if this involved sex, and Tan said it did. She added that the victim would earn 60 per cent of the payment, while the company would take 40 per cent. 

Wanting to earn fast cash, the 16-year-old girl agreed to work for Tan. She sent her photos of her face and figure, lying that she was 19.

The teenager took up two jobs from Tan. On the first occasion in June 2019, she went to a hotel where she provided sexual services to a 47-year-old man and collected S$1,300 from him.

She transferred S$520 to Tan's bank account, and took on the second job on Jun 22, 2019. She went to a provided address and had sex with a 45-year-old customer.

She collected S$1,000 from him, with another dollar as a tip, and transferred S$400 to Tan.

The police arrested Tan in November 2019 after receiving information that she was engaging in vice activities. They seized her phone and retrieved WhatsApp messages she exchanged with the teenage girl, uncovering the offences.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Joseph Gwee asked for at least six months' jail and a fine of S$920 - the earnings Tan made from the teenager.

Mr Gwee said Tan had used the Internet to advance her business, which is an aggravating factor. He added that limited weight should be given to the plea of guilt, as there was evidence against her.

Tan sobbed repeatedly throughout her court appearances. Her lawyer asked for leniency, saying his client was remorseful.

For procuring a girl for the purpose of prostitution and living on the earnings, Tan could have been jailed up to five years, fined up to S$10,000, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(rw)