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The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) welcomed the recent arrest of two (2) Filipinos allegedly responsible for recruiting other Filipinos abroad.

With the help of the authorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Gie Viterbo Rodeo and Gil Feraer Rodeo, were taken into custody on February 28, 2016 for estafa and immigration violations. Authorities in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region, said they are also investigating the two for their alleged involvement in human trafficking activities.

Darlene Pajarito, Executive Director of IACAT, consulted the matter with Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Wendell L. Go, Undersecretary-In-Charge of IACAT, and expressed optimism that Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRD) would turn over the two to Philippine authorities to formally face their charges in the country.

Pajarito noted that the Rodeos are the subject of warrants of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court of Las Piñas for syndicated illegal recruitment and estafa.

“IACAT is also investigating whether one of the accused is the same person named in another outstanding warrant of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court of Puerto Princesa,” Pajarito said.

Kurdish authorities carried out the arrest on the basis of complaints filed by at least three members of the Filipino Community and one Iraqi who alleged that they have been defrauded by the two. It also turned out that the couple had no valid residency permits in Kurdistan.

Pajarito noted that IACAT would communicate with the Philippine Embassy in Iraq to request Kurdish authorities to send the two to Manila upon completion of their internal processes.

For the past several months, IACAT has been actively working with Kurdish authorities, through the DFA and the Embassy in Baghdad, in investigating the activities of illegal recruiters and human trafficking syndicates that have victimized Filipinos in Iraq.

IACAT encouraged other victims of illegal recruitment or human trafficking in Kurdistan and the Philippines to come out and file their complaints so that these could also be investigated. Victims in Erbil should contact the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, while those in Manila can call the IACAT 1343 Hotline.30