Last Updated: Monday, 01 September 2014, 14:30 GMT

2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Morocco

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Morocco, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d74945c.html [accessed 2 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor
Percent of children 7-14 estimated as working in 1998-1999:13.2%2867
Minimum age for admission to work:152868
Age to which education is compulsory:152869
Free public education:Yes2870
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2004:106%2871
Net primary enrollment rate in 2004:86%2872
Percent of children 7-14 attending school in 1998:51.7%2873
As of 2003, percent of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:76%2874
Ratified Convention 138:1/06/20002875
Ratified Convention 182:1/26/20012876
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes2877

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1998-1999, approximately 13.5 percent of boys and 12.8 percent of girls ages 7 to 14 were working in Morocco. The majority of working children were found in the agricultural sector (60.6 percent), followed by services (10.1 percent), manufacturing (8.2 percent), and other sectors (21.1 percent).2878 Of the children who work in the agricultural sector, most work on family farms, picking fruit and vegetables or working as shepherds, and do not attend school. Child work is most prevalent in Doukala, an agricultural province south of Casablanca, where an estimated 26.1 percent of children 7 to 14 are working the fields and tending livestock.2879 Children in rural areas are reportedly six times more likely to be working than those in urban areas.2880 Children also work in the industrial and artisanal sectors, in the production of textiles and carpets, and other light manufacturing activities.2881 A large number of children work as junior artisans in the handicraft industry, many of them working as apprentices before they reach 12 years and under substandard health and safety conditions.2882

Thousands of street children live and work in Morocco's urban centers. Street children in Morocco engage in diverse forms of work including selling cigarettes, begging, shining shoes, and washing and polishing cars.2883 Street children are predominantly boys, but girls, commonly former household maids who have fled abusive employers, are also seen on the street in increasing numbers. Street children are vulnerable to sexual, physical, and substance abuse, and to being forced into illicit activities such as prostitution, selling drugs, or theft in order to collect money for gang leaders.2884

Commercial sexual exploitation involves both boys and girls in Morocco.2885 There are official reports of child prostitution in the cities of Agadir, Meknès, Tangier, Marrakech, Fez, and Casablanca. Isolated cases of child pornography have been reported in the country, but the Minister of Human Rights and the Parliamentary Commission on Social Affairs indicates that it goes mostly undetected.2886

Morocco is a country of destination for children trafficked from sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and Asia, and it serves as a transit and origin point for children trafficked to Europe for forced labor, drug trafficking, and commercial sexual exploitation.2887 Children are also trafficked internally for exploitation as child domestic workers and beggars, and for prostitution. A growing number of girls are trafficked to El-Hajeb in the Middle Atlas, where they are forced into prostitution.2888 In urban areas, many girls working as domestic servants can be found in situations of unregulated "adoptive servitude," in which girls from rural areas are sold by their parents, trafficked, and "adopted" by wealthy urban families to work in their homes.2889 Children are also "rented" out by their parents or other relatives to beg. According to a 2004 survey conducted by the Moroccan League for the Protection of Children, children younger than 7 had been offered by their parents to serve as sympathy props for adult beggars.2890

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Morocco is 15 years.2891 The minimum age restriction applies to the industrial, commercial, and agricultural sectors, and extends to children working in apprenticeships and family enterprises.2892 Children under 16 are prohibited from working more than 10 hours per day, which includes at least a 1-hour break.2893 Children under 16 are not permitted to work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. in non-agricultural work, or between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. in agricultural activities.2894 It is prohibited to employ children under 18 in stone quarries or for underground work carried out in mines.2895 Employers may not permit workers to use products or substances, equipment, or machinery deemed potentially hazardous to their health or safety, or permit minors to perform activities that pose an extreme danger to them, exceed their capacities, or result in a breach of public morals.2896

The law provides protection for abandoned children in Morocco, but there are concerns that some persons may be abusing its provisions. According to the law, persons under 18 and unable to support themselves economically are identified as abandoned if their parents are unknown, unable to be located, or incompetent to assume a parental role. These children are then considered eligible for adoption, and adoptive parents are entitled to a stipend from the government.2897 There has been some concern that girls are being fostered at higher rates than boys and then allegedly forced to work, and that this is facilitating the practice of "adoptive servitude."2898

The Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs, and Solidarity is responsible for implementing and enforcing child labor laws and regulations.2899 The law provides for legal sanctions against employers who actively recruit children under 15. Violators are punished with a fine, and in case of a second offense, with imprisonment of 6 days to 3 month or additional fine.2900 Other remedies to enforce child labor laws include withdrawal or suspension of one or more civil, national, or family rights, including denial of legal residence in the country for 5 to 10 years.2901 The law enables inspectors and the police to bring charges against employers of children under 15 in all sectors, including apprenticed children and children working in family businesses.2902 However, the informal sector is not closely monitored by the small number of Ministry labor inspectors.2903

The minimum age for compulsory conscription into government armed forces is 20 years.2904 The prostitution of children, child trafficking, and corruption of minors are prohibited under the law. Those found involved in or who fail to prevent trafficking, including government officials, are subject to fines and prison sentences2905 Anyone who incites a minor under 18 to commit a vice or who contributes to the corruption of a minor is subject to a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years and a fine.2906 Any person who uses violence, threats, or fraud to abduct (or attempt to abduct) a minor under 18 years or who facilitates the abduction of a minor may be imprisoned for up to 5 to 10 years. If the minor is under the age of 12, the sentence is doubled from 10 to 20 years.2907

The Ministry of Interior is responsible for implementing and enforcing anti-trafficking activities and regulations.2908 In 2006, the Moroccan Government convicted 3 foreigners for engaging in child sex tourism and 10 others for trafficking in children in Morocco.2909

According to the U.S. Department of State, law enforcement agencies actively investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers.2910

Current Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government of Morocco has put in place a number of action programs toward the achievement of its 2005-2015 National Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labor.2911 The focus of the national plan includes improving implementation and raising awareness of child labor laws and improving basic education. Sectoral plans target children in agriculture and herding, the industrial sector (carpets and stitching), metal and auto work, construction, the hospitality industry, food production, street children, and children subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.2912 In February 2006, under the direction of the Minister of Labor (MOL), a Child Labor Unit was created in the Directorate of Labor to address the issue directly.2913 In May, the MOL announced Ingad, the first program targeting child maids. The program will raise public awareness about the issue, withdraw girls from domestic service and reintegrate them into society.2914

The Government of Morocco is participating in two USDOL-funded projects to eliminate child labor and provide educational opportunities for working children. The first effort is the USD 3 million ADROS: Combating Child Labor through Education project executed by Management Systems International, which aims to eliminate the practice of selling and hiring child domestic workers and to create educational opportunities for child laborers and those vulnerable to child labor.2915 As of September 2006, the program had successfully exceeded targets withdrawing 8,779 child maids from exploitive work and placed them in training and educational programs. The second effort in the amount of USD 2.25 million is an ILO-IPEC project that aims to strengthen national efforts against the worst forms of child labor in Morocco and to remove and prevent 5,000 children from work in rural areas of the country.2916


2867 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007, Article 143.

2868 Government of Morocco, Royal Decree No.1.03.194 of September 11, 2003, Concerning the Promulgation of Law no. 65-99 on the Labor Code, (June 6, 2004). See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 18, 2007.

2869 U.S. Department of State, "Morocco," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2006, Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78859.htm.

2870 Ibid.

2871 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2872 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Net Enrolment Rate. Primary. Total, accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2873 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Attendance Statistics, December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2874 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Survival Rate to Grade 5. Total, accessed December 18, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/.

2875 ILO, Ratifications by Country, accessed March 21, 2007; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

2876 Ibid.

2877 ILO, IPEC Action Against Child Labour – Highlights 2006, Geneva, October 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20061018_Implementationreport_eng.pdf.

2878 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

2879 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, UCW Project, Geneva, March 2003, 2, 20, 52; available from http://www.ucw-project.org/pdf/publications/report_morocco_draft.pdf. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting May 5, 2005. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 20, 2005.

2880 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 2.

2881 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 6d. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties, CRC/C/OPSA/MAR/1, pursuant to Article 12(1) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography: Morocco, Initial reports of States parties due in 2004, July 15, 2005, para. 137. See ILO-IPEC, Combating Child Labour in Morocco by Creating an Enabling National Environment and Developing Direct Action Against Worst Forms of Child Labour in Rural Areas, technical progress report, Geneva, March 15, 2006, 7.

2882 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 26. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 5d.

2883 Kingdom of Morocco and Ministry of Labor, Synthèse d'une étude préliminaire sur les enfants de la rue, Rabat, October 2001, para 137. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of States Parties: Morocco, para 137. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 18, 2007.

2884 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 29-30.

2885 Ibid., 28-29. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 5.

2886 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 29. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 20, 2005. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, March 7, 2007.

2887 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 6d.

2888 U.S. Department of State, "Morocco," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65988.htm. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Morocco, accessed November 20, 2006, accessed November 20, 2006; available from http://www.ecpat.net/.

2889 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 6d. See also WTO General Council Review of Trade Policies and ICFTU, Internationally-Recognised Core Labour Standards in Morocco, Geneva, June 16-18, 2003, 8; available from http://www.icftu.org/www/pdf/cls_morocco_2003.pdf.

2890 U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 20, 2005.

2891 Royal Decree No.1.03.194 of September 11, 2003, concerning the promulgation of Law no. 65-99 on the Labor Code, (June 6,), Article 143. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, August 25, 2004.

2892 U.S. Department of State, "Morocco," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005, Washington, DC, March 8, 2006, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61695/htm. See also ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 38.

2893 Labor Code, Articles 184 and 188. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 6d.

2894 Labor Code, Article 172.

2895 Ibid., Article 179.

2896 Ibid., Articles 181 and 287.

2897 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Summary Record of the 882nd Meeting, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties (continued): Second Periodic Report of Morocco (continued), CRC/C/SR/.882, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, July 16, 2003, paras 18-19; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/8e3b9ac683d8dd0ac1256d7a004a2b52/$FILE/G0342258.pdf.

2898 Ibid., para 43.

2899 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2004: Morocco, Washington, D.C., February 28, 2005, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41728.htm.

2900 Government of Morocco, Note on Child Labor submitted in response to U.S. Department of Labor Federal Register Notice (December 5, 2006) "Request for Information on Efforts by Certain Countries to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor", Washington DC, February 28, 2007.

2901 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties: Morocco, Second Periodic Reports of States Parties Due in 2000, CRC/C/93/Add.3, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, February 12, 2003, para 647.

2902 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 6d. See also Labor Code, Article 533.

2903 U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 18, 2007.

2904 See Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Morocco," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=948. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 6d.

2905 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 5.

2906 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of States Parties: Morocco, paras 23-37. See also U.S. Consulate-Casablanca, Email communication to USDOL official, March 25, 2004. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca reporting, January 20, 2004.

2907 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Morocco, Section 5. See also ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR), Report of the Committee of Experts on Morocco's Application of ILO Convention No. 182, Observation, CEACR 2004/75th Session, pursuant to Article 22 of the ILO Constitution, 2004; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/index.cfm?lang=EN.

2908 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006 Morocco," Section 5. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, March 7, 2007.

2909 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Morocco."

2910 Ibid. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 18, 2007.

2911 U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 20, 2005. See also Government of Morocco, Note on Child Labor.

2912 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of States Parties: Morocco, paras 98-99 and 128-129.

2913 ILO-IPEC, ILO-IPEC, "technical progress report". See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 18, 2007.

2914 U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, January 18, 2007.

2915 Management Systems International, Adros: Combatting Child Labor Through Education in Morocco, technical progress report, March-August, Rabat, September 29, 2006.

2916 U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, August 25, 2004. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating Child Labour in Morocco by Creating an Enabling National Environment and Developing Direct Action Against Worst Forms of Child Labour in Rural Areas, project document, Geneva, September 10, 2003, 1-2.

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