A teenager in Singapore recruited two underaged girls and advertised their services for sex work on a seedy Telegram group chat.
The victims, who were aged 16 and 17 at the time, would give the accused a cut of their earnings after providing paid sexual services to customers he had introduced to them.
The teenager, now 17, was himself a student at the time of the offences.
Seven more charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.
He and the victims, referred to as V1 and V2 in court documents, cannot be named as they are minors.
Advertised victims as "xmm" social escort
The court heard that the teenager is an Indian national and Singapore permanent resident, according to CNA.
He got to know V1, a 16-year-old hawker assistant, through his friend who was the girl's ex-boyfriend and father of her child.
In June 2022, V1 needed money for her baby, and met up with the accused to ask him for jobs that would pay her "fast cash".
A month later, he joined a Telegram chat group where sexual services were offered.
The accused told V1 that he had found her a "high-paying job", but she would need to provide sexual services to customers.
They agreed that she would earn up to S$500 for each booking, and pay him S$100 in commission each time.
As part of the agreement, the accused would help V1 advertise her services in the chat group and obtain customers.
V1 also provided him sexually provocative photos and personal details for the advertisements.
Though he knew she was only 16, the teen marketed her in the Telegram group chat as a 17-year-old "xmm" social escort, which he understood to mean "cute young girl".
Over the next few months, he found V1 at least five customers, with some having paid for sexual intercourse with her.
V1 paid him a total commission of S$600, via PayNow transactions.
Second victim was a school dropout
In January 2023, V1 introduced a second victim to the accused, ST reported.
V2 was a 17-year-old school dropout also interested in providing paid sexual services.
The accused, who was by this point an administrator of the chat group, also asked V2 for her pictures and details for advertisements.
He marketed her social escort services for S$400 and found her at least four customers.
Customer who slept with 17-year-old told police he had been 'scammed'
In February 2023, a 34-year-old Singaporean man, Muhamad Reduan Kamsari, contacted the accused via the chat group to hire V2's sexual services.
The accused met up with Reduan and arranged for him to meet V2 for an additional S$200 in commission.
During their meet-up on Feb. 26, Reduan and V2 engaged in a sex act for S$600.
He then obtained her contact and met up with her again to have paid sex, this time without going through the accused.
On Apr. 3, Reduan called the police, saying he had been scammed.
Police officers who arrived at the scene found Reduan with both V1 and V2.
The man admitted he knew V2 was 17, but said he thought the legal age in Singapore to offer paid sexual services was 16.
The legal age requirement for offering commercial sex in Singapore is 18 years old.
Disposed of evidence after police were alerted
After Reduan called the police, V1 texted the word "police" to the accused.
The teenager took it to mean his operation had been compromised.
To cover his tracks, he changed the title of the Telegram chat group, logged out of his account and deleted his chats with customers.
However, investigators identified the teenager and arrested him after interviewing V1 and V2.
The accused also told investigators that he forgot his Telegram password to prevent them from gaining access to his account.
Investigations later found that the victims had delayed paying him their commissions in January 2023.
In addition, the accused offered to waive what they owed him if they had sex with him, but they refused and paid him the money instead.
Recruited vulnerable victims for vice activities: Prosecution
The prosecutor asked for a report to assess if the offender was suitable for reformative training, given the severity of the offences which typically warrant a heavy jail term, CNA reported.
He faces a total of 13 charges accumulated over a period of one year and one month, and reoffended for one charge when he was released on bail.
The prosecutor asserted that the offender had taken advantage of the victims' vulnerability, and showed "absolutely no qualms" recruiting them "into the corrupting world of vice".
The prosecution added that the offender had proliferated vice activities using social media and hindered law enforcement efforts by disposing of crucial evidence.
Sentencing pushed back to December
In mitigation, the defence pointed out that the offender was young and asked for a probation suitability report, CNA further reported.
The judge noted that it was his first offence and asked for both the reformative training and probation suitability reports before making the sentencing decision, ST reported.
The teenager will return to court in December 2023 for his sentencing
The cases involving Reduan and other customers will be handled separately.
Top image from Unsplash.