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Student pimp first to be convicted under Prevention of Human Trafficking Act

SINGAPORE — A student who recruited and exploited prostitutes, including minors, was on Friday (Feb 19) sentenced to six years and three months’ jail and fined S$30,000, making him the first to be convicted under the recently enacted Prevention of Human Trafficking Act.

Muhammad Khairulanwar Rohmat. Photo: Elizabeth Goh/Channel NewsAsia

Muhammad Khairulanwar Rohmat. Photo: Elizabeth Goh/Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE — A student who recruited and exploited prostitutes, including minors, was on Friday (Feb 19) sentenced to six years and three months’ jail and fined S$30,000, making him the first to be convicted under the recently enacted Prevention of Human Trafficking Act.

Muhammad Khairulanwar Rohmat, 25, a final-year student at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), was earlier found guilty of four charges of recruiting a child for sexual exploitation, receiving payment from this exploitation, and sexual penetration of a minor. Another 14 charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

In delivering his judgement, District Judge Mathew Joseph noted that human trafficking is a “modern form of slavery” that violates human rights.

“Where it involves the sexual exploitation of children, vulnerable children, it is inhumane and leaves the child victim mired in pain, sorrow and hopelessness,” he said.

“This was (an) abundantly unconscionable conduct which you had inflicted on your child victim,” he told off Khairulanwar.

The court heard that the accused had contacted the first victim, then aged 15, through Facebook in January 2015 with a job offer. When they met on April 15, he told her the rates she would receive for clothes, lingerie and nude photoshoots, and that he would take slightly less than 50 per cent of her earnings as commission.

He also told her that clients may ask for sex or oral sex, which she should avoid rejecting.

Under the pretense of wanting to check her naked body, he then took the girl to a public male toilet at Cuppage Plaza to take nude photos of her, asked her to perform oral sex on him, and had sex with her.

In March 2015, a second victim responded to his job offer on the Gumtree website. For this victim, then aged 16, he used an online persona, “Mrdotdotdot”, to correspond with her, intimidating her to have sex with clients when needed. As “Mrdotdotdot”, he introduced a client to her called “Khai”, who started communicating with her online, but “Khai” was still Khairulanwar himself.

As “Khai”, he persuaded her to perform oral sex on him and took photos of the act in a public toilet. The following month, he had sex with her under the pretense of testing her bedroom skills, and filmed the act with a GoPro camera.

“Khai” arranged more clients for her and on one occasion, the teen was paid S$450 to have sex with a man in a car near Punggol MRT Station. Khairulanwar took S$50 from the payment.

In all, the accused received S$5,730 in earnings from six victims.

District Judge Joseph said that while the case facts are “capable of sustaining a charge” under existing legislation in the Penal Code and Women’s Charter, Khairulanwar was facing charges under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, which held him to heavier sentences.

The Act was implemented in March last year and first-time offenders could be jailed up to 10 years, fined S$100,000 and be liable to six strokes of the cane.

Pointing to his “ruse” of using two personas to “emotionally manipulate” the second victim, the judge said Khairulanwar was cunning and deceitful in tricking her into succumbing to his lustful desires.

His tactic of getting his victims to have sex with him was also “perverse” and a double exploitation of vulnerable children, he added, noting that the two trafficked victims were children with financial needs.

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