CANADIAN national Paul Kwan has been jailed in Singapore for 12 weeks after he was caught using a hidden camera to film his Indonesian maid showering and using the toilet.
A Singaporean court heard that Kwan had purchased a miniature camera while in Canada last year, which he used to secretly film the 28-year-old domestic helper showering and placed in his house’s kitchen toilet that only she used.
AFP reports that maid discovered the camera while cleaning the toilet in August 2016 before packing her belongings and heading to a domestic worker agency and calling the police.
The treatment of foreign maids in Singapore, many of whom are Indonesian nationals, has long been the topic of debate in the wealthy city-state. Almost a quarter of a million domestic workers are now employed there.
Singapore recently introduced legislation which dictates from October this year, employers will be required to provide insurance of up to SGD60,000 (US$43,000), reports The Straits Times. Until a decade ago Singapore completely excluded domestic workers from its basic labour laws.
In 2008, the country made it compulsory for employers to provide insurance and made weekly rest days mandatory in 2013. Nevertheless, a 2015 study showed that more than half of foreign maids were still denied the right to a day off each week.
Human Rights Watch reports ongoing, alarming rates of abuse including starvation, long working hours and humiliating treatment of domestic workers by Singaporeans.
Moreover, migrant rights groups claim that there has been a spike in the use of fake travel documents to allow domestic workers from Indonesia and other developing countries, including those who are underage, to work in Singapore, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia.
Japan recently relaxed its immigration laws to allow migrant domestic workers.
In 2015 Indonesia introduced a moratorium on sending domestic workers to 21 countries in the Middle East after widespread reports of exploitation and abuse, yet Singapore and Malaysia where many Indonesians work were exempt.