As if the frequent comparisons between Singapore’s domestic worker industry and outright slavery weren’t bad enough, maids were recently found listed on Carousell, a homegrown online marketplace platform used to auction off items.
Last Friday morning, a netizen alerted the All Singapore Stuff Facebook page about a Carousell user that had been putting up listings of various domestic helpers from Indonesia, complete with their faces exposed. Since the account was set up on Aug 15, user @maid.recruitment even had some of the profiles indicated as “sold.”
The page can no longer be found on the platform as Carousell has since taken down the account and its listings. A Carousell spokesman noted to The Straits Times that the listings violated the platform’s community guidelines — sharing of individual’s personal biodata is strictly prohibited.
Currently, Carousell is assisting the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its investigations into the case. Acknowledging their awareness of the listings, MOM issued a strongly worded statement against employment agencies (EAs) that engage in such practices in a Facebook post.
“MOM expects EAs to be responsible and exercise sensitivity when marketing their services,” MOM wrote, reminding agencies that advertising foreign domestic workers like commodities is unacceptable, and a punishable offense. The public is also advised to engage only with MOM-licensed agencies, which can be verified on their directory.
EAs found guilty of doing so will be slapped with demerit points and have its license suspended or revoked. Those offering domestic worker employment services without a valid license can be fined up to $80,000 and/or jailed for up to two years.
When contacted by Coconuts Singapore, an MOM spokesperson was not able to provide any updates to the case as investigations are still ongoing.
Breaking the law is one thing, but the ethics of “selling” people like workhorses on an e-commerce website is another. It’s demeaning and dehumanizing to the people involved (no matter how willing they are), grotesquely akin to auctioning people off as slaves.
Sadly, local employment agencies don’t seem to see anything wrong in putting up such listings on Carousell because there are other sites online — such as Bestmaid.com.sg and Netmaid.com.sg — that already do the very same thing, with the personal profiles and faces of each domestic worker cataloged for interested hirers in Singapore.