Abdennabaoui stated, in a circular addressed to crown prosecutors and public prosecutors, that some individuals were prosecuted for crimes such as corruption and prostitution, despite the fact that they were victims of human trafficking.
These victims, according to the circular, should be identified, along with their nationality and age. They should also be given the opportunity to change their place of residence without disclosing their identity, appointments with specialist doctors, and social care, the Moroccan newspaper Al-Massae reported today.
“When some public prosecutions deal with victims’ complaints or examine the procedures presented to them, not all victims registered in the court minutes were given much importance. It was given only to those who filed complaints or who were caught during investigations,” Abdennabaoui added.
Abdennabaoui called for prioritizing the protection of victims of trafficking from the early stages of the investigation. “Judicial follow-up should not be conducted on victims who committed criminal acts under threat, when such acts are directly related to being victims of human trafficking in accordance with the Criminal Code.”
He also called for prosecutors to take any additional measure as “an effective guarantee for victims of human trafficking by means of a justified decision in accordance with law.”
The law already provides some protective measures for victims of human trafficking. Suspects or defendants can be prohibited from contacting or approaching the victim. Foreign victims are allowed to remain in Morocco until the end of trials.
Importantly, victims are exempted from the judicial fees associated with civil claims for compensation for damage caused by the crime. Victims should also benefit from legal assistance in all proceedings, including appeals and all measures for the implementation of judgments.
Abdennabaoui concluded by calling for regional and local committees to coordinate services to ensure protection for women and children victims of human trafficking by intensifying their role to find quality solutions for them.
The Moroccan government has made efforts and suggested steps to solve this issue. It has carried out increased investigations in human trafficking crimes this year. However, according to the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the US Department of State, the government did not finance specialized protection services dedicated for the victims of human trafficking.