SINGAPORE — An operating manager of an entertainment club was on Tuesday (19 April) sentenced to 41 months' jail for trafficking three female performing artistes, of whom two he physically assaulted.
Jaiho Club operator Alagar Balasubramanian, 47, was also fined $27,365 and ordered by the court to pay compensation amounting to $2,722.
The Singapore permanent resident was convicted of three charges under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act in February.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it was first alerted to the case in June 2016.
Investigations had found that Balasubramanian had interviewed and hired female work permit holders as performing artistes at Jaiho Club.
Prior to entering Singapore, the women were made to sign contracts that were not fully explained to them.
Balasubramanian then imposed onerous financial demands that they would not be able to repay if they wished to leave their jobs. They were also not paid any salaries throughout their employment, said MOM.
Balasubramanian also subjected the women to "constant distress", including seizing their passports and mobile phones, and threatening to cause them physical harm if they returned to India without his approval, the ministry noted, adding that two were subjected to physical assaults.
"MOM investigation officers visited them regularly to check on their physical and mental well-being, and we even engaged professional counselling services to look after their emotional needs," the MOM said.
The ministry also supported the women to gain temporary employment under the Temporary Job Scheme.
All three have since safely returned to India, the ministry added.
First-time offenders convicted under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $100,000 and receive up to six strokes of the cane.
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