Rabat – The President of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Mohamed Abdennabaoui, has called on Morocco’s Public Prosecution to adopt a rigorous approach in the application of legal provisions on the exploitation of children.
Abdennabaoui encouraged Moroccan judges to actively engage in eliminating the exploitation of children in begging.
Speaking at the launch of the Action Plan for the Protection of Children from Exploitation in Begging on Wednesday, December 5, the prosecutor urged judges to put the children’s best interests first by seeking appropriate solutions to protect them.
The judiciary will carry out the child protection operation in coordination with all child-protection institutions, families, and civil society, specified the prosecutor.
Abdennababoui believes that the prosecution judiciary can play a significant role in protecting children who are victims of acts that the law criminalizes.
“The judicial protection for children is just one of the forms of protection that children need,” he said.
He went on to add that children’s best interests are one of the main objectives of the national policy that Morocco has undertaken under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The phenomenon of begging is growing in Morocco. In recent years, there has been an increase in the exploitation of children in begging.
Begging varies from selling tissue boxes and wiping cars’ windows in exchange for some coins, to circulating from a cafe to another asking for money.
In July 2019, the prefectural police department of Agadir decided to launch DNA tests for professional beggars to verify their relationship with the children accompanying them.
The initiative came after the discovery of several networks specialized in exploiting children and infants for begging.
Police caught one such network April 20, after passersby caught a man and a woman who were about to abduct a child in front of a kindergarten in Taddart, in the commune of Anza in Agadir.
After the failure of the abduction attempt, the woman told investigating police that she and her accomplices lure the children with treats before taking them in a car to a female beggar who lives in Izeggane, Ait Melloul (15 kilometers south of Agadir).
The woman then sends the children out onto the streets to beg, taking their earnings for herself.