New York - Human trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon considered a serious crime and a violation of human rights. Morocco participates in this practice, most predominantly with child labor.
New York – Human trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon considered a serious crime and a violation of human rights. Morocco participates in this practice, most predominantly with child labor.
According to the U.S. Department of State, “Morocco is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.”
Children, especially girls aged 6 to 16, are trafficked across the country, known as the “petite bonne”, given away by their families, and forced to do housework in exchange for between MAD 500 and MAD 2,000 per month. In some cases, such as those reported by the Spanish daily El Mundo, little maids earn as little as MAD 300-500 per month.
“They insulted me, I couldn’t stop working and they didn’t let me leave the house,” Nora, a “petite bonne”, told the Spanish daily El Mundo about the family that abused her for five years, overworking her for 17 hours per day.
Nora’s mother regretted her decision to give away her daughter when the wealthy family who took her mistreated her.
“When I called to ask about her, they said she was not there. I was not allowed to talk to my daughter,” she said, adding, “My husband doesn’t live with us. We are poor. There is no money to feed so many mouths”.
INSAF, a Moroccan association that aims to eradicate the “petite bonne” girl slavery, helps rural uneducated families financially with €25 per month, in order to prevent them from selling their children for a mere €30.
Located in Casablanca, INSAF campaigns in schools and rural areas where 85 percent of girls are sold. Around 94 percent of mothers and 72 percent of fathers in Morocco’s rural regions are illiterate.
INSAF blames the Moroccan government for its inability to implement compulsory basic education and its lack of political will to combat child labor.
INSAF’s social worker, Mbarek Boukharsa, said that the areas where “petite bonne” are most common are: Kelaa Sraghna, Marrakech, and Chichaoua.
The institution works to give rescued “petite bonne” victims such as Nora, who is recovering from her years of slavery, a new life by providing them with an education, living arrangements, and psychological support.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines “Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
Forms of exploitation may include sexual slavery, forced labor, slavery, servitude, removal of organs, and others.