Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Morocco

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Morocco, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa48132.html [accessed 30 August 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 Labor2356
Working children, 7-14 years (%), 1998-1999:13.2
Working boys, 7-14 years (%), 1998-1999:13.5
Working girls, 7-14 years (%), 1998-1999:12.8
Working children by sector, 7-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture60.6
     – Manufacturing8.2
     – Services10.1
     – Other21.1
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:15
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:107
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:87
School attendance, children 7-14 years (%), 1998:71.6
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:79
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

The majority of underage workers in Morocco are found on family farms.2357 Doukala, an agricultural province in the Northwest, contains the highest concentration of working children, estimated at 26.1 percent of total children working in the country.2358 Children in rural areas are reportedly six times more likely to be working than those in urban areas.2359 There are also children working as artisans, producing textiles and carpets in the industrial sector, and in other light manufacturing activities.2360 A large number of children work as junior artisans in the handicraft industry, many of them beginning their work as apprentices before they reach 12 years.2361

There are reports that tens of thousands of girls work in Morocco as domestic workers. Girls work 100 hours or more per week with little rest or days off, and are often subjected to physical and verbal abuse.2362

Thousands of street children live and work in Morocco's urban centers.2363 Street children in Morocco engage in diverse forms of work including selling cigarettes, begging, shining shoes, and washing cars.2364 Street children are predominantly boys, though girls have been seen on the street in increasing numbers; these girls are commonly former household maids who have fled abusive employers. Street children are vulnerable to being forced into illicit activities such as prostitution and selling drugs in order to collect money for gang leaders.2365

Boys and girls are involved in commercial sexual exploitation in Morocco.2366 There are official reports of child prostitution in the cities of Agadir, Meknès, Tangier, Marrakech, Fez, and Casablanca.2367 Isolated cases of child pornography have been reported in the country, but the Minister of Human Rights and the Parliamentary Commission on Social Affairs indicate that it goes mostly undetected.2368 Sex tourism of Moroccan boys and girls is a growing problem.2369

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.2370 Children are also trafficked internally for exploitation as domestic workers and beggars, and girls are trafficked to El-Hajeb in the Middle Atlas for prostitution.2371 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.2372 The Law on the Protection of Children states that persons under 18 years who cannot support themselves economically and whose parents cannot be reached or identified are considered eligible for adoption; adoptive parents are also entitled to a stipend from the Government.2373 There has been some concern that girls are being adopted at higher rates than boys, and that they are then allegedly being forced to work.2374 In addition, children are also rented out by their parents or other relatives to beg.2375

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Morocco is 15 years.2376 The minimum age restriction applies to the industrial, commercial, and agricultural sectors, and extends to children working in apprenticeships and family enterprises.2377 Children under 16 years are prohibited from working more than 10 hours per day, which includes at least a 1-hour break.2378 Children under 16 years are also 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.2379 The law prohibits employment of children under 18 years in stone quarries or for underground work carried out in mines.2380 Employers may not permit workers under 18 years 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.2381

The Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs, and Solidarity has responsibility for enforcing and implementing child labor laws.2382 The law provides for legal sanctions against employers who actively recruit children under 15 years. Violators are punished with a fine, and in case of a second offense, with imprisonment of 6 days to 3 months or additional fines.2383 Other remedies to enforce child labor laws include the 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.2384 The law enables inspectors and police to bring charges against employers of children under 15 years in all sectors.2385 However, according to USDOS, the informal sector is not closely monitored by Ministry of Labor inspectors due to insufficient resources.2386

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by law.2387 The minimum age for compulsory conscription to the Government's Armed Forces is 20 years, while the minimum age for volunteering is 18 years.2388 The prostitution of children, child trafficking, or corruption of minors are prohibited under the law. Those found to be involved in or who fail to prevent trafficking, including Government officials, are subject to fines and prison sentences of 6 months to 20 years.2389 Anyone who incites or procures a minor under 18 years for prostitution is subject to a prison sentence of 2 to 5 years and a fine.2390 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 from 5 to 10 years. If the minor is under the age of 12, the sentence is doubled.2391

The Ministry of Interior is responsible for implementing and enforcing anti-trafficking activities and regulations. From January to October 2007, the Ministry disbanded 260 criminal trafficking rings; there is no data regarding the sentences of the traffickers.2392

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 National Action Plan to Eliminate Child Labor (2005-2015).2393 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 and food production, children on the streets, and children subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.2394 In January 2007, the Government of Morocco formally launched the first of five phases of the National Plan of Action.2395

The Government of Morocco is participating in three USDOL-funded projects to eliminate child labor and provide educational opportunities for working children. The first project is the USD 3.1 million ADROS: Combating Child Labor through Education project executed by Management Systems International, which aims to eliminate the practice of selling and hiring "Petites Bonnes" (Little Maids) and other child domestic workers, and create educational opportunities for children involved and vulnerable to exploitive labor.2396 The second project 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 5,800 children from work in rural areas of the country.2397 The third project is a recently approved USD 3 million Combating Exploitive Child Labor through Education project carried out by Management Systems International. The project began September 30, 2007 with the goal of withdrawing 4,000 and preventing 4,000 children from the worst forms of child labor.2398


2356 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of Morocco, Le nouveau code de travail, Dahir n. 1-03-194 du 14 rejec 1424 (11 septembre 2003) portant promulgation de la loi n. 65-99 relative au Code du travail, (May 6, 2004), article 143; available from http://www.maroc.ma/NR/rdonlyres/9A951844-BCA6-4468-9EFD-7460E229E00F/0/codedetravail.pdf. See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, December 14, 2007. See also U.S. Department of State, "Morocco," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100602.htm.

2357 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 6d. See also ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, UCW Project, Geneva, March 2003, 2; available from http://www.ucw-project.org/pdf/publications/report_morocco_draft.pdf.

2358 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 11, 20.

2359 Ibid., 2.

2360 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 6d. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of States Parties due in 2004: Morocco, prepared by Government of Morocco, pursuant to Article 12 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography, July 15, 2005, para. 137; available from http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G05/428/21/PDF/G0542821.pdf?OpenElement. See also ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 26.

2361 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 26. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 6d.

2362 Human Rights Watch, Morocco: 'Hidden' Children Face Abuse, [online] December 20, 2005 [cited April 2, 2008]; available from http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/12/21/morocc12278_txt.htm.

2363 U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, December 14, 2007.

2364 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Morocco, para 137.

2365 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 29-30.

2366 Ibid., 28-29. See also U.S. Department of State, "Morocco," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82806.htm.

2367 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 28.

2368 Ibid., 28, 29.

2369 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Morocco." See also U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, December 14, 2007.

2370 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 6d.

2371 Ibid. See also U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007: Morocco." See also ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 28, 29.

2372 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 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.

2373 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/$F ILE/G0342258.pdf.

2374 Ibid., para 43.

2375 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 6d.

2376 Government of Morocco, Le nouveau Code du travail, article 143. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 6d.

2377 ILO, World Bank, and UNICEF, Understanding Children's Work in Morocco, 38.

2378 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 6d.

2379 Government of Morocco, Le nouveau Code du travail, article 172.

2380 Ibid., article 179.

2381 Ibid., articles 181 and 287.

2382 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 6d.

2383 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.

2384 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Second Periodic Reports of States Parties Due in 2000: Morocco, prepared by Government of Morocco, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, February 12, 2003, para 647; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/22c537968b14bcfbc1256d2d0037f5b4/$FI LE/G0340393.pdf.

2385 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 6d.

2386 Ibid.

2387 Government of Morocco, Le nouveau Code du travail, article 10.

2388 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 – 2007 Morocco," section 6d.

2389 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 5.

2390 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Second Periodic Reports of States Parties: Morocco, para 642, 643.

2391 Ibid., para 660.

2392 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007 Morocco," section 5.

2393 Government of Morocco, Note on Child Labor.

2394 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Morocco, paras 98-99 and 128-129.

2395 U.S. Consulate – Casablanca, reporting, December 14, 2007.

2396 Management Systems International, Adros: Combating Child Labor Through Education in Morocco, Technical Progress Report, March-August, Rabat, September 30, 2007, 1.

2397 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, September 18, 2007, 1.

2398 U.S. Department of Labor and Management Systems International, Combating Exploitive Child Labor through Education in Morocco, Notice of Award, September 24, 2007, 1, 3.

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