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Filipino Maids in Morocco

Casablanca – Morocco may be considered as a migration-exporting country, especially to Europe and Gulf countries. However, its geographical location along with other factors has made it a land of destination for migrants. The North African kingdom hosts different nationalities, but the purpose of their residence varies from one person to another.

As a host country, Morocco faces challenges that have recently been raised as the country commits to respect human rights, through the ratification of international agreements. In this regard, the exploitation of some Filipino housemaids highlights the need for more efforts in order to protect the rights of foreign labor.

The coming of Filipina housemaids to Morocco is seemingly a perplexing question, but there are some reasons that make Morocco a potential destination. Rich Moroccan families are moving towards employing Filipina maids instead of those of Moroccan citizenship. In this regard, the daily newspaper Al Akhbar dedicated its weekly issue to the matter, shedding light on many other dimensions of the question. The maids cited to the daily newspaper the Moroccan families’ incentives. The Filipina maids are known for their hard work and their fluency in English, which is a favorite language for the families; a housemaid, therefore, plays a teacher’s role as well. Also, Filipino food has gained international recognition.

Some Moroccan activists added that employing Filipina housemaids has become prestigious among wealthy Moroccan families. The fact that no visa is required for Filipino citizens is another factor that encourages this wave of migration. A few kilometers away from Europe, Morocco can also serve as a bridge to the old continent. It is therefore not surprising to see the number of Filipina housemaids reaches three thousand, a figure which is released by the honorable consul of the Philippines in Morocco. While many maids are well treated, a few have experienced terrible moments in their lives.

Baybamot reflects the story of a Filipino maid who was poorly treated. In 2008, she was subjected to several acts of torture and dehumanization. Her employer, who was a woman, used to force her to sleep naked, without any blankets to protect her from the cold. Sometimes, she put a black plastic bag on her face during the night. Worse, she scored her face with a knife and made her drink urine.

Baybamot’s case was discovered by “Don’t Touch my Child” association whose president received a phone call from an unknown person telling the story of the young maid. The association supported the case until the court ruled that the employer had to pay MAD 120.000 as compensation. The 34 year old left Morocco three months ago for the Philippines.

Mohammed Boulmane, an advocate, demanded the Public Prosecutor  to give its orders to the judicial police to listen to the maids’ complaints, as there is no law that obliges the police to do so, especially when no evidence is provided. “A thorough investigation about human trafficking which the Filipino maids are subjected should be opened” the advocate went on to say. In this regard, some of the maids told the newspaper they were given false promises, whereas others said they paid 3000 dollars before they could come to Morocco.

Last Wednesday, Renato Dueñas, the General Consul of the Philippines in Libya paid a visit to the kingdom in order to discuss the issue with the Moroccan ministry of foreign affairs. He said he was shocked to hear about the poor treatment of his citizens, but he stressed that many of them live in good conditions.

Such limited acts of torture and dehumanization may be found anywhere in the world. But it seems to be high time for the Moroccan legislature to take the necessary measures that can protect the rights of foreign maids from any forms of exploitation.

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