Rabat - By approving the law on the labor of minor girls, the Moroccan government and parliament consecrate the loathsome status of "little maids" that has for a long time made it possible to extract little girls from their families and place them, usually far away from their environment, in the homes of others as housemaids.
Rabat – By approving the law on the labor of minor girls, the Moroccan government and parliament consecrate the loathsome status of “little maids” that has for a long time made it possible to extract little girls from their families and place them, usually far away from their environment, in the homes of others as housemaids.
Not only is this law too short of the spirit and the underlying rational of the 2011 constitution that confirm the fundamental rights of all citizens to education, social services and protection but by denying these rights to a category of the population, it lags behind the most prominent provisions of this constitution and creates a de facto situation in which not all citizens are equal. In fact, by authorizing the employment of a 16-year-old girl as a housemaid, the new violates the fundamental rights of children as they are stipulated in international law.
Furthermore, by not providing for any legal and biding mechanisms to the employer of housemaids to comply with labor law, it treats them as a lesser category of citizens that are not entitled to the same rights, protections and benefits of this law as other categories. This law creates the category of poor under age females and subjects it to an ear tagged working and living conditions which employers are authorized to recruit from without having to comply to labor law. As these young candidates to house maid positions are almost exclusively from rural areas, the category is a subset of the wider one of remote rural areas that benefit from no social services, no education, no accessibility facilities and that are specifically poor and vulnerable.
This new law illustrates how the current government and its majorly in the parliament ally against the most vulnerable populations and design schemes for them to reproduce their poverty in defiance of the explicit provisions of the constitution. In fact, the new law hardly stipulates anything about working hours, the living conditions, retirement, social security and social benefits. As the house maids are illiterate, minor, separated from their ken and transplanted in cities foreign to them and are made to live in the hostile environment of the working site, the home of richer adults and, they end up in a very fragile situation and at risk of hazards of all kinds.
While, for instance, they are exposed to sexual abuse, torture, physical punishment and they can be starved, overworked, made to eat leftovers, work around the clock, handle hazardous products, kept in uncomfortable living quarters, etc., they have no reasonable recourse, no one to complain to and barely any way to prove any of these exactions. In addition to this, because the working place of the housemaid is a home, it is not accessible to labor inspectors and law enforcement agencies and cannot, therefore, be inspected as other working sites.
Furthermore, not only does the new law reproduce the situation in which a parent or, in the case of orphans, an older sibling can make a little girl work and cash her pay extorting her earnings, but it does also reproduce the dramatic conditions in which little girls are humiliated, raped, their dignity violated, they are denied education, their emotions are strained, their self esteem is so low they feel they are worthless and unworthy, their psychological and mental health are severely broken down, and the risks for them to suffer from other social problems are increased.
One wonders why this current government and its majority are so backward and reactionary never failing to go against the interests of the poor and the vulnerable and systematically turning their heads to the voices of experts, civil society and the international community. One wonders whether they do it on purpose or they are just incompetent. Whatever the case, the results and the impacts are the same.
Thanks to this law, it will be long before the sight of tiny young little girls carrying the heavy school bags of fat overweight spoiled brats and/or early breakfast pastries and milk they will not taste fade away from the streets of our cities.
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