Terrible living conditions of migrant workers in S'pore in 2017 photographed

Migrant Workers' Centre conducted a spot check in August.

Joshua Lee | August 17, 2017, 06:44 PM

The Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC) conducted a spot check at two migrant worker dormitories in Geylang on Aug. 13.

They found that the workers living there were subjected to appalling living conditions and rancid food.

Read: Foreign workers in Geylang still made to consume rancid food in 2017

The dormitories housed workers from three related construction companies, reportedly managed by a Bangladeshi permanent resident.

According to Yahoo News, one of the companies is SJH Trading.

Problems found in the dormitories include:

  • Overcrowding – Each unit housed more than the maximum of eight occupants stipulated by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). At peak occupancy, each unit could house up to 30 workers.
  • No proper bedding – Many workers had to resort to sleeping on floors and in the common corridors.
  • Bug infestation – MWC found signs of cockroach and bedbug infestations on the walls of the dorms.
  • Filthy toilets and showers – MWC mentioned that the toilets were ‘unacceptably filthy’ and inadequate, as up to 13 people shared one toilet.
  • Expired food – Workers were served breakfast and lunch that were prepared up to more than 12 hours in advance.


Here are more photos from the spot check that MWC posted on Facebook on Aug. 17:

A small kitchen in one of the units was used to run catering of meals daily for more than 100 workers.


One of the sleeping quarters we found in the two units. Storage space was limited and the workers would use a variety of makeshift techniques to leep and store their personal belongings. Sleeping space was limited with no proper bedding.


Packets of the workers' breakfast and lunch that had already been cooked, packed and sorted before we visited slightly after 12 am. Workers would typically consume breakfast some 8 hours later, and lunch more than 12 hours after preparation.


The wash basin in one of the shower compartments.

Telltale signs of bed-bugs. These marks are the result of workers pressing the bugs against the wall in the middle of their sleep.


Overuse and overloading of electrical points. A small spark at one of these points could lead to disastrous consequences for the occupants.


The sleeping arrangements in another room where 4 workers slept (two on the floor).


Work boots rack, next to sacks of potatoes. Food stores like these sacks were stored wherever space could be found, with no consideration of the cleanliness of the surroundings. No pantry to safely store these items was present.


Another room where 3 workers slept side by side on the floor. Wires from fans were left lying in heaps on the floor with no effort to safely conceal them to prevent accidents.


Desk fans like these were a frequent site in both units as the conditions are generally warm and stuffy .

You can read the MWC post here:

For migrant workers who need assistance

If you are a migrant worker who needs assistance (or if you know of one), the MWC operates a 24-hour hotline at 6536 2692. The hotline is operated in all the major migrant worker native languages.

MWC assures privacy and confidentiality in all situations.

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All images and image captions via Migrant Workers' Centre Facebook page