Rabat- The U.S. Department of State has released the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, which says that Morocco “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” despite the government’s efforts and suggested steps forward to solve the issue.
The Moroccan government has convicted slightly more traffickers this year than the previous year, by carrying out more investigations. However, according to the report, the government did not fund specialized protection services exclusively for the victims of human trafficking.
The survey emphasizes that undocumented migrants in Morocco are more vulnerable to human trafficking, adding that the government did not report screening for these trafficking victims who may face the risk of being re-trafficked.
The government reported investigating 34 trafficking cases in 2017, whereas in 2016 it reported investigating only 11 cases involving eight sub-Saharan migrants linked to trafficking networks.
The government also reported in 2016, the arrest of two Moroccans under article 475 and 486 of the penal code for sexual abuse, who were engaged in sexual exploitation.
On the other hand, the report pointed out that the government did not report the status of certain cases, such as Saudi Arabian nationals involved in child sex trafficking, and some 122 cases of trafficking and migrant smuggling networks dismantled in 2016.
In addition, a ring of 66 smugglers and their 12 accomplices, involved in 33 trafficking cases, were disbanded in 2017.
The report has provided recommendations for Morocco regarding anti-trafficking measures, suggesting that the country should train judicial and law enforcement authorities, increase anti-trafficking investigations, and fund NGOs specialized in fighting all forms of trafficking.
The report added that the country should also impose strict sentences against traffickers and identify human trafficking victims so that they are not punished for the crimes they are subjected to.
The report concludes: “Moroccan men, women, and children are exploited in forced labor and sex trafficking, primarily in Europe and the Middle East.”
According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, 45.8 million people worldwide are victims of slavery. Morocco ranked at number 18 out of the 167 listed countries with the most cases of modern slavery, including human-trafficking.
Modern slavery involves the act of “one person possessing or controlling a person in such as a away as to significantly deprive that person of their individual liberty,”says the survey.