The number of abandoned children reached 1,741 in 2018, according to the latest statistics.
Rabat – Minister of Solidarity, Family, and Equality Jamila El Moussalli has shared another shocking statistic, representing alarming challenges about abandoned children in Morocco.
In Morocco, authorities found 360 children abandoned in open-air streets in 2018 alone.
The number of abandoned children, according to the official, reached 1,741 children.
Judges ruled 1,422 verdicts against parents charged with neglect in the same year, the Minister explained during a House of Representatives on Monday, January 6.
While the statistics are shocking, the latest figures represent fewer numbers than those shared by Moroccan renowned activist Aicha Ech-chenna last year.
The activist said in an interview with Spanish news outlet Mujerhoy that 50,000 children are abandoned each year in Morocco, with an average of 24 babies thrown in the rubbish bin per day.
“There is no official number of single mothers, but 10 years ago, there were already more than half a million,” she added.
Children without identities
Morocco’s government has expressed concerns about families that could not register their children, launching several campaigns to encourage parents to get their children documented.
Last year, the former government spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi estimated the number of children who do not have proof of identity at 91,747 by the end of 2018.
In Morocco, undocumented children cannot benefit from basic rights such as education.
Undocumented marriages, non-declared births, or parental negligence are the main reasons behind the high number of undocumented children.
Article 16 of the Family Code considers the marriage certificate as the only legal and official proof of marriage. Parents without marriage certificate find it hard to register children in civil records.
In addition to abandoned children, El Moussalli also discussed the situation of children exploited in the streets for purpose, including begging.
Across Morocco, dozens of women and men flock the streets accompanied by minors, including children under five, to beg.
The minister recalled a campaign launched by her ministry, seeking to preserve the rights of children and protect them from the phenomenon.
The minister emphasized that the campaign covers several citizens as the first phase, including Rabat, and Rabat’s twin cities of Sale and Tamera.
The campaign will also include Morocco’s big cities in its second phase.
The ministry said it has been conducting weekly reports to assess the evaluation and the positive outcomes of the campaign.
“Child protection is one of the key areas where the Ministry of solidarity, women, family and social development, intervenes as a government department responsible for developing, coordinating and monitoring government policies and programs in the field of childhood,” according to the Ministry of Family and Solidarity.