U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Morocco

Morocco (Tier 1)

Morocco is a source, transit, and destination country for girls, women, and men trafficked from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Internal trafficking involves young girls from rural areas recruited to work as child maids in major cities. Morocco is also a source country for men, women, and children trafficked to Italy, Spain, and other parts of Europe for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Moroccan women are similarly trafficked to Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the U.A.E. for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Men and women from Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan are increasingly trafficked through Morocco to Europe or Middle Eastern countries for forced labor. In 2005, the Government of Morocco, international organizations, and numerous NGOs claimed that the number of Moroccans trafficked into Spain, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe has increased significantly.

The Government of Morocco fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Its international anti-trafficking cooperation, including initiatives taken to discipline United Nations peacekeepers, reflects the government's strong commitment to addressing the trafficking problem. According to Ministry of Interior reports, the government disbanded more than 300 criminal rings in 2005, some of which may have included traffickers, and took steps to address official corruption. Morocco should strengthen the sentences assigned to convicted traffickers and should consider instituting a more effective system of screening trafficking victims from the numerous smuggled migrants interdicted each year.


The Government of Morocco made additional progress in its prosecution of traffickers and corrupt officials over the last year. Morocco's anti-trafficking statutes punish traffickers and complicit public officials with penalties ranging from six months to 20 years' imprisonment and the forfeiture of assets. Morocco convicted two policemen for trafficking and initiated prosecution of eight members of the Force Auxiliaries, including one army officer, three policemen, and one senior police officer. The government also convicted four Moroccan soldiers serving as United Nations peacekeepers for engaging in trafficking, although their sentences were only from three months to one year. In February 2006, Moroccan officials dismantled a large international network trafficking and smuggling migrants from India, arresting 70 suspects including a police officer. The government also convicted three French citizens for engaging in child sex tourism and 10 other foreigners for trafficking in children in Morocco. According to the Ministry of Justice, Morocco works with the Governments of Spain, France, Italy, and Egypt on investigating and prosecuting traffickers. The government should continue its efforts to prosecute traffickers, but should also raise the sentences of those convicted for trafficking offenses to reflect the heinous nature of the crime. Morocco should additionally institute a mechanism to systematically distinguish between smugglers and traffickers.


The Government of Morocco made modest progress in its protection efforts over the last year, although more needs to be done to screen trafficking victims from those voluntarily smuggled into the country. The Center for Migrant Rights offers counseling to victims and the government grants modest funds to local NGOs providing shelter and other services. Morocco also works with NGOs in Spain and Italy to establish shelters and assist minor victims of trafficking. The government offers sensitivity training for its officials and has begun training diplomats in prime destination or transit countries on victim identification.


Morocco has continued to advance in its trafficking prevention efforts. The government established an anti-trafficking task force to formulate policy and monitor progress in combating trafficking. Working with the governments of Spain and other EU countries, Morocco increased patrols along the waterway between the Western Sahara and the Canary Islands and improved monitoring of its land borders, airports, and train stations. Government officials also meet with UNICEF regularly to discuss programs aimed to keep rural children at risk of trafficking in school.


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