Owners of homes used as brothels to face stiffer penalties

Those living off the earnings of prostitutes would now face a mandatory jail term of up to seven years and a fine of $100,000, up from the five-year jail term and $10,000 fine currently.

Owners of residential properties used as “pop-up” brothels will now face harsher penalties under changes made to the Women’s Charter, reported The New Paper.

This comes as seven out of 10 foreign women arrested between 2015 and 2018 for online vice were providing sexual services within residential estates, revealed Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling.

With the changes, an owner or tenant who rents out or sublets premises that are used as a brothel will be held criminally liable, unless they are able to prove that they have no knowledge and could not have, with reasonable diligence, determined that the premises will be used for such purpose.

“Reasonable diligence” means owners and tenants have conducted identity checks on prospective tenants or sub-tenants via face-to-face interviews. In case that they are overseas, owners should have an agent who will conduct the face-to-face interviews for them.

Sun noted that the changes are necessary since syndicates often exploit the absence of checks at the point of leasing.

Property agents who fail to conduct the necessary checks may face fines or suspension or revocation of their registration.

Other changes include making people who are based outside Singapore liable should they facilitate the provision of sexual services within the city-state via remote communication services like instant messaging apps or websites.

With maximum penalties raised also, those living off the earnings of prostitutes would now face a mandatory jail term of up to seven years and a fine of $100,000, up from the five-year jail term and $10,000 fine currently.

Repeat offenders, on the other hand, face up to 10 years mandatory jail term and $150,000 fine, up from the present maximum fine of $10,000.

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

This post was originally posted on Property Guru Property Market News Section