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Filipino diplomant, husband facing human trafficking raps in Canada
Publication Date : 11-05-2014
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Saturday said it was investigating a Filipino diplomat and her husband who were charged in Canada for alleged human trafficking involving the exploitation of a 26-year-old Filipino woman they had hired from the Philippines and brought to Canada as a nanny.
“The department is conducting an inquiry into the matter and, through the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa, has extended its full cooperation to the extent defined by international law,” said DFA spokesperson Charles Jose in a statement.
“The department takes very seriously any allegations of misconduct of its employees,” he added.
Canadian federal police said Friday they had brought charges against the diplomat, Buenaflor Cruz, and her husband Robert Cruz for mischief, uttering threats, withholding their nanny’s identification documents and human trafficking.
The police cited “third-party allegations” that the nanny was being “exploited… for financial and material benefits” and that the Cruz couple had threatened her “by withholding or destroying her documents,” The Canadian Press, Canada’s national news agency, reported.
It said the suspects had left the country while the nanny, who worked at the couple’s Ottawa home between July 2009 and December 2013 but was not identified, had been “relocated to a safe location” in Canada.
Jose said Buenaflor Cruz was formerly assigned to the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa but has since been reassigned to the home office in Manila “as part of the department’s normal rotation.”
It was not clear if diplomatic immunity would apply in the case, but Canadian authorities apparently asked the DFA to issue a waiver in April “only to be told on May 5 that the two had surrendered their identity cards and returned to the Philippines,” according to The Canadian Press.
Jose said the Philippine government was cooperating fully with the Ottawa police “to the extent defined by international law.”