SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has suspended the licence of employment agency SRC Recruitment after identifying the firm as the one responsible for the maid advertisements on online marketplace Carousell.
In a statement on Wednesday (Sep 19), MOM also said that it is investigating SRC Recruitment "with the view to take prosecution actions for infringements under the Employment Agencies Act (EAA)".
The suspension means that SRC Recruitment will not be able to place any new foreign domestic workers (FDWs). The suspension will remain for as long as investigations are ongoing, MOM said in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia.
“The MOM is committed to protecting the well-being of FDWs in Singapore. We strongly condemn the advertising of FDW services in an undignified manner," said Mr Kevin Teoh, Commissioner for Employment Agencies.
“Advertising FDWs on an Internet platform meant for trading goods is completely inappropriate and unacceptable. Such an act is an offence under the EAA. The ministry takes a very serious view on this matter, and we will not hesitate to take prosecution actions on errant employment agencies," he added.
MOM first alerted the public to the postings on Carousell on Sep 14, saying that it had been made aware of cases of maids being "marketed inappropriately" on Carousell.
Carousell user "maid.recruitment" had posted listings showing several domestic workers from Indonesia, along with their names and ages.
Carousell later responded to say that it had detected around 50 listings and removed them.
MOM said on Wednesday that it expects employment agencies to exercise a duty of care towards their clients, including FDWs.
“The ministry sternly warns employment agencies against similar actions that would denigrate the dignity of foreign domestic workers working in Singapore,” it said.
MOM added that it is also in touch with the Indonesian Embassy and have informed them of the investigations.
'WE SHOULD TREAT THEM WITH RESPECT'
SRC Recruitment's actions earned a stern rebuke from Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who said she was "deeply disturbed".
She wrote in a Facebook post: "Advertising and marketing FDWs in such an undignified manner is not only insensitive, but absolutely unacceptable. I strongly condemn the action."
"It pains me to think that our FDWs, many of whom are someone's daughter, sister and possibly even mother, are being marketed in such a manner. It is a given that we should treat them with respect," she said.