TIP Award Year:
In 2012, Iraq passed comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation. Mohammed Bassam Al-Nasseri was instrumental in the drafting process, in advocating for the passage of the law, and in pushing for the implementation of the law. In his position as a capacity building officer at the International Organization for Migration, he has provided incredible support to the International Trafficking in Persons Working Group in Iraq, a forum for Iraq’s Central Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons. He has helped them coordinate with other international organizations and supporters. Not only has he engaged in advocacy at the political level and with non-governmental organizations, but he has taken on the task of advocating for individual survivors as well. 35 construction workers from the Balkans and Eastern Europe were trapped in a forced labor situation in Iraq. It was due to the efforts of Mr. Al-Nasseri that the individuals were freed, and were repatriated to their home countries. He would visit the construction site where they worked daily, bringing all sorts of supplies and food. They worked in miserable conditions, and lived without running water and electricity. Proving that the fight against human trafficking is not just theoretical but personal, Mr. Al-Nasseri has continued to fight in this case against their former employer, and continues to combat human trafficking in all its forms.
In the 2014 TIP Report, Iraq was listed as a Tier 2 country. It is a source and a destination country for both sex trafficking and forced labor. The internally displaced population and migrant work force are highly susceptible to human trafficking. Forced marriage, and temporary marriage, is a problem in certain areas, and some criminal gangs operate throughout the country, buying and selling people for all purposes. While the laws in Iraq are in compliance, the implementation of the law continues to be weak. Better prosecutions, and better victim protection, is needed.