PH steps up drive against human trafficking in Iraq

October 07, 2019

THE Philippine Embassy in Baghdad intensified its drive against human trafficking and illegal recruitment of Filipinos  after a group of men transporting a Filipina to Basra was intercepted by Iraqi authorities.

This is in line with President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s policy to stop the incidence of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.

Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Jomar T. Sadie recently met with Police Affairs Deputy General Emad Mohammed Mahmood of the Ministry of Interior and Head of Anti-Human Trafficking Major Ali Shalalin of the Police Affairs Agency in Baghdad, where the Embassy was positively informed that the draft Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippines and Iraq was recently submitted to the Cabinet for their review.

Embassy officials also met with Bangladeshi Ambassador to Iraq Abu Maksud M. Forhad and Indonesian Ambassador to Iraq Bambang Antarikaso, respectively, to discuss the drafting of a joint paper on human trafficking concerns of sending states to Iraq.

The initial group, composed of the Embassy of India and the Embassy of Pakistan officials, is scheduled to meet with other missions next week to consolidate concerns and proposals.

As a result of the concerted efforts of labor-sending states to Iraq, including the Philippines, authorities have reportedly tightened security on checkpoints especially on routes used by unscrupulous agencies.

Filipinos are reportedly being brought to Iraq using visit visas. Later on, victims are “sold” as household workers to families in Iraq.

Last  September 15,  the Asuwera Checkpoint Police intercepted a group of four men transporting a Filipino to Basra while bearing only an expired visit visa.

The Al Masraah Police Station coordinated the matter to the Philippine Embassy, which immediately dispatched a team to assist a Filipino in the name of “Glo.”

Upon the representation of the Embassy with the Iraqi authorities, “Glo” was immediately repatriated to the Philippines on September 17.  The court filed appropriate charges against the four men.