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PH wants to help Iraq in fight vs human trafficking

/ 12:03 AM January 10, 2016
KURDISTAN HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASE Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato and Vice Consul Andrei Bauzon of the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad discuss with Barbara Rijks and Jacopo Carbonari of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Erbil, Iraq, the trafficking case involving 10 Filipino nationals who were rescued by authorities in Iraq’s Kurdistan autonomous region. The IOM helped repatriate the 10 victims to Manila. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Embassy

KURDISTAN HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASE Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato and Vice Consul Andrei Bauzon of the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad discuss with Barbara Rijks and Jacopo Carbonari of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Erbil, Iraq, the trafficking case involving 10 Filipino nationals who were rescued by authorities in Iraq’s Kurdistan autonomous region. The IOM helped repatriate the 10 victims to Manila. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Embassy

“We would like to continue our collaboration with Iraqi authorities in combatting human trafficking,” chargé d’affaires Elmer G. Cato said in his remarks during a reception the Philippine Embassy hosted to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Manila and Baghdad.

Positive steps

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“The Philippines is encouraged by the positive steps that the Iraqi government has taken during the past several years to address human trafficking issues,” Cato told the more than 100 Iraqi officials, foreign diplomats and other guests who attended the reception at  Babylon Warwick Hotel on Dec. 30, 2015.

The Filipino envoy cited in particular the support and cooperation extended by authorities to the Philippine Embassy that resulted in the successful rescue and repatriation two months ago of 10 Filipino human trafficking victims in the Kurdistan region.

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In his remarks, Cato said the embassy is ready to share its experience in helping Iraq formulate more effective measures to allow it to not only go after human trafficking syndicates but also to assist Filipino and other migrant workers victimized by these syndicates.

In July, the Philippine Embassy will be working closely with the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the High Commission on Human Rights and other concerned agencies on this important concern in 2016.

Strengthen collaboration

The embassy will also further strengthen its collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) so that it could better respond to trafficking cases involving Filipino nationals in Iraq. He said the IOM also played an important role in the repatriation of the 10 trafficking victims from Kurdistan.

The embassy participated in an IOM sponsored a workshop that brought together Iraqi government agencies and embassies of labor-sending countries to discuss issues involving migrant workers in the country.

In November, the embassy and the IOM conducted a briefing on human trafficking for members of the Filipino community in Erbil.

The Philippine Embassy believes there are as many as 2,000 Filipinos working in Iraq, most of them in the Kurdistan region and some in Baghdad, Basra and other parts of the country.

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TAGS: Diplomatic Relations, Elmer G. Cato, envoy, Human trafficking, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Iraq, Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, repatriation, rescue
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