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IOM Iraq Staffer Wins U.S. State Department Counter Trafficking Hero Award

( IOM ) -  IOM Iraq staffer Mohammed Bassam Al-Nasseri last week received a US Department of State 2013  Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award.



The award was made at the launch of the State Department's 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report on last Wednesday, June 19th by US Secretary of State John Kerry. During the ceremony, Secretary Kerry honored nine 2013 TIP Report Heroes - individuals whose personal efforts and commitment have made an extraordinary difference in the global fight against modern slavery.


"IOM is proud that one of this year's Heroes is Mohammed Bassam Al-Nasseri.  His nomination reflects his critical role in development, passage, and implementation of Iraq's comprehensive 2012 anti-trafficking legislation.   Through his support to the International Trafficking in Persons Working Group in Iraq, Mohammed has been able to effectively coordinate Iraq's counter-trafficking efforts with the international community," said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Michael Pillinger.


Mohammed Bassam Al-Nasseri has also served as a tireless advocate for a group of 35 Ukrainian and Bulgarian construction workers who were trafficked and left stranded in Iraq. "Mr. Al-Nasseri's heroic and continuing involvement in this case is just one example of his exceptional commitment to fight human trafficking," notes the TIP report.  


IOM has been present in Iraq since 2003.  With three regional hubs in Baghdad, Basra and Erbil, and 23 field offices across all 18 governorates, IOM Iraq works to provide support and reintegration for internally displaced Iraqis; implements livelihoods and income generation schemes through business development services and trainings; carries out integrated border management programmes, counter-trafficking initiatives, the reintegration of children and adolescents from Iraqi prisons, and the reintegration of former Iraqi soldiers; and provides capacity building for the Iraqi government.


"During 2011 and 2012 alone, IOM Iraq has directly served more than 250,000 of the most vulnerable Iraqis, an overwhelming majority of whom are internally displaced.  Through this support, IOM has also assisted their families and communities, indirectly serving over one million beneficiaries," says Pillinger.