Morocco (Tier 1)
Morocco is a country of origin, transit, and destination for women, men, and children trafficked from sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab region, and Asia. Young Moroccan victims are lured into Europe by Italian, Spanish, Moroccan, Algerian, and Nigerian traffickers and then forced into drug trafficking, coerced labor, and sexual exploitation. Moroccan women are trafficked to the Gulf region and Syria. Significant internal trafficking also takes place, usually involving child domestics and underage girls sold into marriage. An emerging sex tourism industry involving young Moroccans in and around popular tourist destinations of the country has also been reported.
The Government of Morocco fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In 2003, the government continued its aggressive fight against trafficking by establishing the Office of International Cooperation to lead the interagency coordination of Moroccan anti-trafficking policy. The government also enacted new anti-trafficking laws and strengthened existing laws; conducted anti-trafficking information campaigns; and, enhanced its cooperation with other affected countries and NGOs engaged in anti-trafficking efforts.
In 2003, the government continued to strengthen and enforce its anti-trafficking laws. It created two new security agencies vested with the authority to investigate, arrest, and prosecute traffickers. It also passed a new family code prohibiting the selling of child brides and raising the age of marital consent to 18, and it made sexual abuse of children a crime by revising a penal code. The government formed a bi-national commission with Spain to dismantle human trafficking networks. Specific prosecutorial actions taken by the Moroccan Government include dismantling 265 human smuggling and trafficking operations and convicting 127 individuals. Official corruption is suspected at lower levels of government, but a new Immigration and Emigration Act that prescribes penalties for such conduct is expected to address this problem.
In 2003, Morocco made concerted efforts to protect trafficking victims. It intensified its cooperation with other countries and NGOs in the repatriation of victims; began to provide counseling and repatriation services to underage Moroccan victims in Italy and Spain; provided training to its diplomats in prime transit and destination countries in counseling potential victims; and amended the penal code to promote the reunion of runaway child maids with their families, rather than their arrest for vagrancy. The revised code allows victims to be kept in youth centers separate from juvenile delinquents, if reunion is not possible. Trafficking victims jailed and/or detained for violating immigration or other laws material to their trafficking are not provided adequate legal representation. Morocco should provide or facilitate such legal service to victims.
In 2003, the Government of Morocco implemented important anti-trafficking prevention measures. It has stepped up the monitoring of its borders, airports, and train stations to prevent trafficking and migrant smuggling. It also announced plans to jointly conduct awareness campaigns with NGOs aimed at discouraging young Moroccans from emigrating illegally, and dissuading expatriates from aiding traffickers.