Morocco Registered 719 Victims of Human Trafficking From 2017-2019

Morocco passed Law 27-14 concerning the fight against human trafficking at the end of 2016.

Rabat – Minister of Justice Mohamed Benabdelkader has described Morocco’s human trafficking approach as “global” and “modernist,” unique from that of other countries. 

Morocco’s efforts against human trafficking are “based on a global and modernist approach focused on prevention, protection, care, sponsorship, and partnership,” he said at the Higher Institute of the Magistracy in Rabat on July 27, as quoted by Hespress.

Morocco passed Law 27-14 concerning the fight against human trafficking at the end of 2016, but the justice minister believes there is still work to be done.

Due to “the scale of the phenomenon, its expansion, and its spread at the international level,” all responsible stakeholders must set “quality and precise standards” and research good practices of countries leading in the field in order to successfully combat human trafficking.

For Morocco to successfully combat human trafficking, the government must establish a national referral mechanism for victims of this crime, he continued. 

Morocco should also implement appropriate diagnosis and assessment strategies that reflect the scale of human trafficking. In addition, the country should develop a comprehensive national strategy against the phenomenon, one that meets international standards and mirrors best practices, Benabdelkader stressed.

The justice minister then shared statistics highlighting the incidents of human trafficking in Morocco. 

In 2019, Morocco registered 151 cases of human trafficking, compared to 80 in 2018 and 17 in 2017. Total cases from 2017 to 2019 amount to 248.

Meanwhile, Moroccan courts prosecuted 585 people for human trafficking crimes, including 144 women and 84 foreigners, during the same period. 

The country registered 719 victims of human trafficking between 2017 and 2019, including 283 victims of sexual exploitation and 35 victims of labor exploitation.

Room for improvement

The US Department of State’s 2020 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report ranked Morocco as a Tier 2 country. A Tier 2 country is one that needs to implement certain measures before its human trafficking approach can be considered satisfactory.

“The Government of Morocco does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Morocco remained on Tier 2,” the report stated.

The report welcomed Morocco’s increased prosecution and conviction of traffickers, and its increased identification of trafficking victims.

However, several aspects of Morocco’s human trafficking approach do not meet the report’s minimum standards. Morocco’s relocation of some sub-Saharan African migrants from the regions near the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, for example, is a concern for the US State Department.

The report suggested Morocco create a national victim referral mechanism, train officials, cease the penalization of victims, ensure victims’ protection, and implement a nationwide anti-trafficking awareness campaign.

Read also: EU Representative: Morocco is Key Partner in Fighting Human Trafficking