PHL lauds Iraq for 'positive steps' in fight vs. human trafficking
The Philippines has lauded Iraq for the "positive steps" it took in the fight against human trafficking, and vowed to continue its collaboration with Iraqi authorities in dealing with the issue.
"The Philippines is encouraged by the positive steps that the Iraqi Government has taken during the past several years to address human trafficking issues," said Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato on December 30, 2015.
He cited in particular the support and cooperation extended by Iraqi authorities to the Philippine Embassy that resulted in the successful rescue and repatriation of 10 Filipino trafficking victims in the Kurdistan region two months ago.
"We would like to continue our collaboration with Iraqi authorities in combatting human trafficking," Cato said, adding the embassy is ready to share its experience in helping Iraq formulate more effective measures against syndicates.
Cato made the remarks during a reception the Philippine Embassy hosted to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Manila and Baghdad. It was attended by more than 100 Iraqi officials, foreign diplomats and other guests.
Cato also said the Philippines "is looking forward to assisting Baghdad in its efforts to strengthen its existing mechanisms to address this concern."
He said 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.
Cato also said 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.
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. —KBK, GMA News