Woman who ran social escort websites for sexual services jailed, fined

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A woman who ran social escort websites for the purpose of providing sexual services was jailed for six months on Tuesday (24 August).

Rita Xavier, 57, who ran three websites with at least six women under her, was also fined $4,200.

The Singaporean woman ran a company called Belle Donna Promotion from 2012 to 26 September 2019. Her company provided sexual services through female escorts for a fee to customers.

Xavier pleaded guilty to three out of seven charges under the Women's Charter. These relate to procuring women for the purpose of prostitution, and maintaining a remote communication service in Singapore that manages the provision of sexual services. The remaining four related charges were taken into consideration for her sentencing. 

She was caught on 26 September 2019 when officers from the Specialised Crime Branch conducted a series of anti-vice operations and arrested her at her residence.

Two of Xavier’s websites promoted social escort services with rates ranging from $500 to $1,000 per hour. She would receive 40 to 50 per cent of the sum as her commission from the women who provided the services. 

The websites, which listed the photos of the social escorts, categorised the profiles of the escorts based on their ethnicity. Interested clients would approach Xavier by emailing her or calling a phone line operated by her. Clients would chose an escort then propose a date to meet. Xavier would then contact the escort to arrange for the meeting and inform the client to book a hotel room.

In January 2018, a 46-year-old woman, known as “Riya” to Xavier, came across the escort website in January 2018 and asked her about the work of an escort. Xavier offered her a part-time job, which “Riya” accepted.

In September 2018, “Riya” accepted an assignment to provide sexual services to an unknown male client. She had sex with the client for $500, $200 of which was given to Xavier.

“Riya” accepted another assignment and met the client in Miramar hotel on 26 September 2019. Upon arriving at the hotel, she was detained by police officers to assist with investigations against Xavier.

Another 24-year-old Singaporean woman, known as “Vanessa”, reached out to Xavier through one of her websites to ask about working as an escort. She was offered the job and estimated that she had sex with at least 15 clients from October 2018 to September 2019.

During this period, “Vanessa” transferred around $4,000 to Xavier’s bank account, as part of the latter’s commission.

Xavier, who cooperated with investigations, estimated that she had earned an average sum of $3,500 a month from the vice-related activities over the years.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Kee cited general and specific deterrence as the primary sentencing considerations in this case. He added that the prosecution had considered Xavier's remorse in pleading guilty and her cooperation with the authorities, in asking for a jail term of six months for her. 

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