Rabat- Moroccan and Spanish women rallied on Sunday, June 17, in Spain’s Huelva province in a march of solidarity with Moroccan seasonal workers who have been sexually assaulted.
The Andalusian Workers’ Syndicate (SAT) organized Sunday’s march in Huelva to denounce the sexual abuse of Moroccan agricultural workers.
The syndicate called on the Spanish government to intervene and restore the rights of these seasonal workers.
A video of the demonstration captured women as they held banners saying “Work Without Sexual Slavery” and chanted in protest. Some women also ululated in Moroccan style.
After a meeting between 18 representatives of agricultural firms and officials from the General Directorate for Migration in January, Spain agreed to hire 10,400 Moroccan agricultural workers to pick strawberries and other berries for the April to June harvest season.
In May, the US-based online media company Buzzfeed recounted the stories of several Moroccan women farmers who complained of sexual assault by their employers.
Later, four farmers working in Huelva filed complaints against the same supervisor for alleged sexual assault. Shortly after Spanish authorities arrested and questioned the suspect, he was released on bail.
Morocco’s Ministry of Employment carried out an investigation to inquire about the conditions of women farmers on Spanish farms.
After a Moroccan-Spanish delegation visited the Spanish farms, the ministry maintained that “no specific case of abuse or violation against Moroccan workers was found.”
Several news outlets, including Buzzfeed News, Spain’s El Mundo, and El Pais have reported on the conditions of the Moroccan farmers in Heluva.
The news outlets recently reported that a mother, seven months pregnant, who traveled to Spain to earn money for her sick son was sexually assaulted by her supervisor.
“I will only return to Morocco when the truth breaks out, I want to go home with my head up,” she told El Pais.
The workers were scheduled to return to their home country once the agricultural season ends. With the current controversy, it might take longer for them to go back to their families as they wait for justice to take its course.