Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Morocco
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||4 June 2008|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Morocco, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a2ec.html [accessed 20 September 2014]|
MOROCCO (Tier 2)
Morocco is a source country for children trafficked internally for the purposes of domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Morocco is also a source, transit, and destination country for women and men trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. Young Moroccan girls from rural areas are recruited to work as child maids in cities, but often face conditions of involuntary servitude, including restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Moroccan boys also endure involuntary servitude as apprentices in the artisan, construction, and mechanics industries. Moroccan boys and girls are also exploited through prostitution within the country and increasingly are victims of a growing child sex tourism problem. Moroccan girls and women are also trafficked internally and to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, U.A.E., Cyprus, and European countries for commercial sexual exploitation. In addition, men and women from sub-Saharan Africa, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan often enter Morocco voluntarily, but illegally, with the assistance of smugglers. Once in Morocco, however, some women are coerced into commercial sexual exploitation to pay off smuggling debts, while men may be forced into involuntary servitude.
The Government of Morocco does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Morocco did not report investigating or prosecuting any recruiters for forced child labor during the reporting period. In addition, the government did not take serious steps to increase law enforcement against the commercial sexual exploitation of adults and foreign women. The government similarly failed to provide adequate protection for victims of trafficking, who were often detained and subject to automatic deportation for acts committed as a result of being trafficked.
Recommendations for Morocco: Significantly increase prosecutions of traffickers for forced prostitution and involuntary servitude, and institute a formal victim identification mechanism to ensure that victims are not punished or automatically deported for acts committed as a result of being trafficked.
The Government of Morocco made efforts to prosecute traffickers and trafficking-complicit officials over the last year. Morocco appears to prohibit all forms of trafficking. Its Penal Code prohibits forced child labor through Article 467, forced labor through Article 10, and forced prostitution and prostitution of a minor through Articles 497-499. The Government of Morocco reports that it also employs the Immigration Law of 2003 and other statutes, such as those prohibiting kidnapping, fraud, and coercion to prosecute trafficking offenses. Penalties prescribed by these various statutes for sex trafficking offenses are sufficiently stringent, and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In contrast, prescribed penalties for labor trafficking offenses appear not to be sufficiently stringent; penalties for child labor under Article 467 range from one to three years' imprisonment, while general penalties for forced labor under Article 10 are limited to fines for first-time offenders or six days' to three months' for repeat offenders. In 2007, Morocco prosecuted 150 cases of inciting minors into prostitution and convicted 129 individuals for this trafficking crime. The government also reported convicting 170 abusive employers of child labor. The government, however, did not provide any sentencing data by this Report's deadline to demonstrate that these convicted traffickers were punished. Moroccan auxiliary force security officers were convicted of trafficking offences in Tangier, Tetouan, and Nador; their sentences ranged from two months' suspended sentences with a fine to four years' imprisonment. During the reporting period, Morocco reported dismantling 260 "trafficking rings;" however, the government continues to make no distinction between migrant smuggling and trafficking, so it is not clear how many, if any, were actually trafficking rings. In July 2007, the Moroccan government investigated incidents of alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls in Cote d'Ivoire by Moroccan peacekeepers; the government dropped charges when alleged victims failed to testify and claimed that they were coerced into making the accusations.
Morocco made insufficient progress in protecting victims of trafficking over the reporting period. Foreign trafficking victims were not properly identified, and were often arrested and subject to detention and automatic deportation along with other illegal migrants. Of particular concern are reports that Morocco routinely rounded up illegal sub-Saharan migrants, including victims of trafficking, and left them at the Algerian border, often without food or water. As Morocco has not provided any data regarding these expulsions, the extent of this problem is not known. In February, the government arrested a sexually exploited minor for prostitution. In addition, first-hand reports from an NGO indicate that trafficking victims suffered physical abuse at the hands of Moroccan police. The government did not offer legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims of trafficking to countries where they might face hardship or retribution. Morocco also does not actively encourage victims to participate in investigations against their traffickers, but they often testify during prosecutions. Despite training diplomats in prime destination countries, very few Moroccan minor victims were repatriated from abroad. The government provided in-kind support to NGOs assisting victims.
Morocco improved its efforts to prevent trafficking over the reporting period. In March, the government committed $2.6 million to develop the income-generating capacity of families at risk of sending their children for domestic work. The government also signed agreements with Catalonia and Italy to prevent illegal migration of Moroccan children, who are at extremely high risk of being trafficked. The government did not, however, show significant efforts to raise public awareness of the commercial sexual exploitation of children and women in major cities, especially tourist areas, and did not take any reported measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Morocco has not ratified the 2000 U.N. TIP Protocol.