This paper uses Singapore as a case study in how the international anti-trafficking movement has influenced the regulation of sex work. In doing this, it explores the various historical, geographical, and socio-legal factors which have shaped Singapore’s system of regulation. It then presents the contemporary composition of the regulation of sex work in Singapore: a system of informal rules and protections hidden in the shadow of formal legal institutions. Finally, it analyses the impact of the international anti-trafficking movement, with specific emphasis on the American Trafficking in Persons Report, on Singapore’s regulation of sex work. It suggests that the recent increase of police raids on red light districts is aimed primarily at image control, and that these raids are undermining a functioning regulatory system. It concludes by suggesting that to improve upon its existing regulatory system, Singapore should focus on eliminating sex worker stigma and improving the rights of migrant workers.
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