Wall exhibition: Singapore Runaways
The images in the exhibition are part of a global project undertaken by Xyza Bacani to explore the intersection between migration and human rights. The project is supported by the Pulitzer Center. Bacani is a Filipino street photographer and a Magnum Foundation Human Rights Fellow, known for her stunning B&W images of Hong Kong street life.
Singapore is a prosperous country in Asia and migrant workers have played an important role in its success, but at what cost? Hidden behind a shelter in Singapore are hundreds of distressed migrant workers of different nationalities waiting for their cases to be heard and hoping to move on. These people are victims of human labour trafficking, emotional, psychological and physical abuses.
Women are most vulnerable to these types of abuses, but even male migrant workers are subject to exploitation. Migrant workers from China, Bangladesh, India and other Asian countries go to Singapore to work as construction workers with little protection from local labour laws.
When the article was published, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Manpower of Singapore said that ‘Singapore authorities take strong action against employers who do not comply with the law in their management of migrant workers’. She noted that nine in 10 foreign workers reported that they were satisfied with working in Singapore, according to a survey published in 2014, but for hundreds of these migrants, it’s far from reality.”