Despite the continuous sexual assault allegations, Spain and Morocco are determined that the recruitment of Moroccan farmers for the strawberry and red fruit picking season in Huelva draws “positive conclusions.”
Rabat – The Moroccan and Spanish governments have issued a statement to express their satisfaction with the recruitment of Moroccan farmers for the 2018-2019 strawberry and red fruit picking campaign in the Spanish province of Huelva.
The statement announced that Spain recruited 14,583 Moroccan farmers for the campaign.
“The displacement of 14,583 Moroccan nationals as part of a regular, orderly, and secure migration process, has been positive for countries of origin and destination,” said the statement.
The statement added that the agricultural season in the province is a “very important factor for economic development and employment, where 5 million, working days have been declared.”
The statement comes amid an ongoing scandal surrounding sexual assault allegatations against managers in the strawberry fields. Several female Moroccan workers have come forward with accusations of sexual assault and harrassment.
In July, the New York Times quoted several Moroccans, who said that they were subject to alleged sexual assault and rape.
“He pressured her to have sex, promising her a better life and working conditions,” the online paper wrote.
The victim, who is now pregnant, said that she feels “depressed” and is ”scared to look for work.”
Another woman told the Guardian that her experience in the fields were the worst in her life.
They also claimed to have stayed in unhygienic conditions, despite having been shown photos at the recruitment centers.
Despite all the reported allegations, the Spanish and the Moroccan governments appear to be satisfied with their annual agreement.
In the joint statement, the two governments said that they have “introduced improvements in the management and monitoring of the campaign, by increasing the number of meetings and the frequency of contacts, which made it possible to set up an appropriate organization allowing the gradual arrival of people who come to work according to a schedule established depending on the needs expressed by the sector.”
The statement also said that both Spain and Morocco made “very significant efforts to meet extremely tight deadlines.”