Rabat – The House of Representatives of the Moroccan Parliament has opened an investigation into the prevalence of so-called human mules at Ceuta crossing points, where several Moroccan women die every year in stampedes.
According to MP Abdelwadoud Kharbouch, the investigation falls within the domain of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Islamic Affairs and Moroccans Residing Abroad.
Several representatives of different Moroccan parliamentary groups were appointed to conduct this mission, including Kharbouch.
“The main purpose of this mission is to focus on the general conditions at the Bab Sebta (Ceuta) crossing, in particular the situations of neglected children and women carrying goods,” Kharbouch told the state-owned agency, Maghreb Arab Press.
The investigation also aims at monitoring the situation of mule women, who carry heavy loads of goods through the Ceuta checkpoints.
The decision also seeks to study “the human and social conditions in which [these women] work, as well as the impact [smuggling] has on the national economy and the social component in the region.”
According to official numbers given by Kharbouch, 8,500 human mules, of which about 3,000 are estimated to be women, carry goods out of Ceuta’s crossing points.
The investigation, launched on July 11, will continue until July 13.
On Wednesday, members of the parliament held a meeting in Tetouan with concerned representatives of security forces.
The commission will meet to evaluate the outcome of the investigation on Friday, July 13.
In January 2018, two Moroccan women were killed while several others were injured in a stampede at one of the entrance gates of the Ceuta’s crossing border.
In 2017, three fatal stampedes were reported. The first two incidents each claimed the lives of one Moroccan woman and the third tragedy, which occurred on August 28, killed two and injured several others.
Spanish authorities made a deal with the Moroccan parliament in an effort to prevent such tragedies in the future. The agreement, which dates back to June 2017, allows women to cross the border only on Mondays and Wednesdays, while men will be permitted to cross on Tuesdays and Thursdays.