Rabat- Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) revealed in the 2017 annual labour survey that 247,000 out of 7,049,000 children aged between seven and 17 face the burden of employment. Some of the children’s works are considered vastly too dangerous for their age.
Every year on June 12 the world celebrates UN’s “World Day against Child Labour.” This year’s theme is “World Day for Safety and Health at Work,” aiming to improve the safety and health of young workers and end child labour.
The UN campaign seeks to end all forms of child labour by 2025 and secure a safe working environment for the global workforce by 2030.
According to UN statistics, around 73 million children, making up 4.6 percent of child population worldwide, perform dangerous works.
With respect to Moroccan legislation, article 143 of the 2004 Code of Work dictates that it is illegal for a child under the age of 15 to work.
Based on the national child labour statistics, of the current 247,000 working children in the country, 162,000 (2.3 percent) carry out life-threatening day to day tasks, namely in fields of agriculture, construction, mining, forestry, handicrafts and fishing industry.
Child labour in Morocco has experienced a sharp decrease from 517,000 children working in 1990 to 247,000 in 2017, according to HCP statistics.
Child labour per region in Morocco and worldwide
The HCP report states that 10.6 percent of children who perform risky tasks attend school, 81.4 percent are school dropouts, while 8 percent have never attended school.
76 percent of youngsters aged between 15 and 17 work in rural areas. 81 percent of this age category are males and amongst the most affected by the dangerous working environments.
Furthermore, about 38,000 of the 4,026,000 children populated in cities are employed across Morocco.
The region of Casablanca-Settat has the highest rate of child labour, employing 25 percent of children, followed by Marrakech-Sadi region constituting 20.3 percent, Rabat-Sale Kenitra region employing 12.7 percent, and the Fez-Meknes region with a rate of 11.7 percent.
Last year, the non-profit Insaf Association saved 300 girls from domestic work in Morocco, and revealed that 80,000 children aged below 15 from poor and illiterate backgrounds, work in the country’s homes.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), child labour rates are currently 8.6 percent in Africa, 4 percent in Europe and Central Asia, 3.4 in Asia-Pacific region, and 1.4 percent in the Middle East.
ILO maintains that there is a strong correlation between war and child labour. Refugee children are the closest example as they find themselves forced to work and help their families survive.