Residents in Jurong West Street 61 are fuming, as one of the units in that particular block has seen a steady stream of men who flock there. Residents said that for the last one year, the rented unit has housed a number of foreign women, and some were shocked to learn that it operates as a brothel.
Despite a number of raids in the area, such brothels keep returning, attracted by low rents and the belief that they are less likely to be detected there. Residents have given feedback to the relevant authorities that more enforcement in the area is needed, as there are also now more reports of brothels operating out from heartland HDB blocks, and not only in the Jurong West one.
Ms Vanessa Ho, director of sex workers’ rights group Project X, believes increased police raids on unlicensed brothels in Geylang could have resulted in businesses moving to public housing. “We know a handful of sex workers who work out of HDB flats, and I estimate that there must be hundreds of such brothels,” she said.
Enforcement action since January shows at least 82 women have been arrested for suspected involvement in vice activities within residential areas and units.