Despite sexual assault and harassment allegations, Morocco and Spain are preparing for the next seasonal farming campaign in Huelva, in southwestern Spain.
Rabat – A Moroccan delegation from the Ministry of Labor and one from the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC) conducted a two-day visit this week to Huelva, where Moroccan seasonal workers work on farms over the harvest seasons.
The delegations aimed to prepare for the next campaign to recruit Moroccan seasonal workers for berry farms, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).
The Moroccan and Spanish officials agreed on the need to set conditions for the success of the recruiting operation to ensure the best conditions for Moroccan workers.
The secretary general of the Ministry of Labor, Noureddine Benkhalil, told MAP that the visit is part of the partnership program between Morocco and Spain on seasonal migration.
“It must be emphasized that the partnership model that is the focus of today’s visit is an exemplary experience,” he said.
He acknowledged that the conditions “need to be improved, enriched but also safeguarded.”
This summer, several Moroccan seasonal workers said that they were subjected to sexual harassment and assault by Spanish managers in the strawberry producing region of Huelva.
Following the allegations, Morocco and Spain promised to improve protections for female seasonal workers.
Morocco’s delegation and officials, however, said that the partnership should be reinforced.
In October, Minister of Employment Mohamed Yatim said Moroccan-Spanish cooperation on seasonal employment has “positive results.”
He called on Morocco and Spain to reinforce cooperation on seasonal workers in a statement Tuesday.
Yatim spoke about seasonal workers with Spanish secretary of state for migration, Maria del Consuelo Rumi Ibanez, when she was on an official visit to Morocco in early October.
Speaking to MAP about Morocco-Spanish cooperation during his visit to Huelva, Benkhalil said that “the political relations between the two countries are excellent.”
During the meeting, Moroccan and Spanish authorities said that they are committed to enhancing the quality of the labor program in Huelva.
The statement came amid an official visit by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to Morocco on Monday.