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What Methods Can Singapore Use to Further Protect Its Foreign Domestic Workers and Eradicate Forced Labor? 27 27 tion of the human rights, mentioned above, maintains FDWs vulnerability to forced labor. One reason behind Singapore’s reluctance to improve the sit- uation for FDWs is a discriminatory perspective engrained in the republic’s culture through history and lawmaking. Stud- ies have suggested that discriminatory attitudes have created a dynamic where the FDW is seen as an “ ‘outsider’ by virtue of [their] class, nationality and gendered work” (Huang & Yeoh). This cultural perspective is strengthened by legisla- tion that does not grant migrant workers the same rights as natives. Migrant workers are excluded from almost any of the national laws aimed at protecting workers, including Singa- pore’s Employment Act (EA), which outlines basic working conditions andmany other rights granted to native Singapor- eans. The discrimination that poses most prominent issues to the rights of domestic workers is twofold: against migrants and against women. The discriminatory laws and lack of explicit protection that women in Singapore face leaves them especially vulnerable to exploitation as domestic workers (UNHuman Rights Council). Policy Options In order to eradicate forced labor by the year 2030, Singa- pore needs to level the playing field and protect fundamental human rights for FDWs. The lack of legal protection makes domestic workers vulnerable and subject to exploitation and human rights abuses. We therefore recommend that Singa- pore ratify ILO Convention No. 189, extending basic labor rights to domestic workers, and urge them to ratify the 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention No. 29, which prevents forced labor, pro- tects victims, provides them with access to remedies, and highlights the link between forced labor and trafficking in persons, including Rec- ommendation No. 203, which offers guidelines to implement these fac- tors. Singapore could ratify the pro- tocol, according to the recommenda- tion, by ensuring adequate protection of FDWs and victims and their rights, by focusing on prevention, and by ef- fectively prosecuting employers who fail to comply. The recommendations further set out in this report aim to offer guidelines for first steps Singapore could take to effectively do so. By ratifying these laws and conventions, Singapore would be taking im- portant strides towards ensuring the protection of human rights for all its citizens, including FDWs, and the eradication of forced labor by 2030. Although protecting basic human rights principles for everyone, including FDWs, is an essential first step, the Singapore government must undertake actions to ensure adequate legislative protection under the law. In order to do so, it is essential that the government adapts or implements several key national laws in order to prevent the exploitation of FDWs. FDWs are vulnerable to exploitation and forced labor from the moment they are being recruited. Outrageous recruitment fees, restrictiveworkingpermits, andSingapore’s security bond conditions create incentives for employers to exert excessive control over FDWs, thereby exposing them to inhumane working conditions. A HOME report found that manyFDWs are often required to pay fees of around S$1,200– 4,000 to employment agencies (HOME b, 30). International labor standards are clear on this issue; the ILO sets out that “no recruitment fees or related costs should be charged to, or otherwise borne by, workers or jobseekers” (ILO c, 13). Hence, it will be crucial for Singapore to abolish recruitment fees for FDWs and to create bilateral agreements with origin countries to increase the scope of social protection. The country should furthermore aim to adapt its working permit standards, which now tie FDWs to their employers,