PHL Embassy in Iraq, IOM vow intensified efforts vs. human trafficking
The Philippine Embassy in Baghdad and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will intensify their efforts to assist Filipino human trafficking victims in Iraq.
This was agreed upon during a meeting at the IOM offices in Baghdad on Wednesday between Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Elmer G. Cato and IOM chief of mission for Iraq Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss, according to a news release from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
"As we start another year, we look forward to strengthening our active partnership with IOM, particularly in helping the Iraqi Government build its capacities in addressing migration and trafficking-in persons issues," Cato said.
During the meeting, Cato and Weiss agreed to "further strengthen their collaboration, particularly in protecting distressed Filipinos and other migrant workers in Iraq," the DFA said.
Saying human trafficking will be a priority issue in 2016, the Filipino envoy told Weiss the embassy is ready to work with IOM in reinforcing the positive steps the Iraqi government has taken during the past several years to address this concern.
For his part, Weiss assured Cato that the Philippines can count on the full support of the IOM in helping the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government in building their respective capacities to respond to migration and trafficking issues.
Cato highlighted the successful cooperation between the embassy and IOM in 2015 that led to the rescue and repatriation of 10 Filipina trafficking victims in Kurdistan.
He also cited the joint campaign with IOM in raising public awareness on the issue of trafficking in persons.
"We would not have successfully carried these out without IOM," said Cato. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News