Cablegate: Morocco: 2010 Annual Trafficking in Persons

Published: Mon 22 Feb 2010 05:35 PM
DE RUEHCL #0025/01 0531735
P 221735Z FEB 10
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: A. 09 STATE 2094
1. (U) This cable responds to action request (Ref
A) for updated information on the Moroccan
government's efforts to combat trafficking in
persons from April 2009 to February 2010.
2. (SBU) The Government of Morocco (GOM) has taken
a number of steps in 2009 that indicate it is poised
to make substantive changes to strengthen its
legislation, as well as enforcement and protection
policies, for trafficking in persons (TIP) crimes.
The GOM announced in May 2009 its intention to
ratify the United Nations' 2000 Palermo Protocol to
Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.
In February 2010, the GOM validated the first ever
Trafficking In Persons report in Morocco conducted
by the International Organization for Migration
(IOM) in cooperation with government ministries.
The report, which is due to be made public shortly,
includes a comprehensive overview of the GOM's
strengths and weaknesses on TIP issues and includes
recommendations for legislative and policy reform.
The GOM intends to either pass comprehensive TIP
legislation or amend the penal code to create a
category of TIP crimes. Moreover, two separate
ministries have submitted draft legislation that
seeks to bring greater enforcement and stiffer
penalties against individuals who employ child
3. (SBU) In 2009 the GOM dismantled 130 trafficking
networks. However, it continued to conflate migrant
smuggling and human trafficking. The GOM
prioritized law enforcement activities intended to
investigate, prosecute and deter trafficking rings.
The Ministry of Interior (MOI) reported that in 2009
it successfully thwarted the attempted illegal
migration of 5,549 people of which 2,672 were
Moroccans and 2,877 were non-Moroccans. The Royal
Moroccan Navy intercepted 131 sub-Saharan migrants
attempting illegal crossings on wooden boats. In
spite of USG demarches at the ministerial-chief of
mission level, the GOM has not yet implemented
screening procedures or protections for victims of
international trafficking and has taken few steps to
prevent its own nationals from becoming victims of
international trafficking.
4. (SBU) On the domestic front, Morocco continued
to wrestle with internal trafficking problems,
specifically the widespread issue of child labor,
unaccompanied minors trafficked to Europe, and the
sexual exploitation of children, particularly in
tourist areas. The GOM reported that in the first
six months of 2009, labor inspectors issued 94
warnings and 39 fines to businesses for employing
children under 15 years of age. In addition, the
inspectors issued 616 warnings and 19 fines to
businesses for employing children between the age of
15 and 18.
The GOM also took measures against child sexual
exploitation and reported that in 2008 (the most
recent statistics available) it successfully
prosecuted 25 cases of homosexual sex against a
child, 138 cases of exploitation of a child for
begging, 73 cases of exploitation of children in
drugs, 25 cases of facilitating the illegal
immigration of a minor, 203 cases of facilitating
the prostitution of a minor, 504 cases of sexual
assault of a minor, and 1,122 cases of aggravated
sexual assault of a minor. The GOM also reported
that in 2009 10 foreigners were prosecuted for
homosexuality, encouraging a minor to engage in
prostitution, facilitating the exploitation of a
minor and violent rape of a minor; their sentences
ranged from one month to two years in prison. The
political will exists at the highest levels of the
Moroccan Government to solve these problems;
however, prioritizing budgets and reforms and the
implementation of existing laws continue to be a
5. (SBU) The GOM treats domestic trafficking issues
primarily as a development issue. For example, most
anti-child labor programs in Morocco focus on
providing financial support and education to the
targeted family to ensure that children stay in
school for as long as possible. For fiscal year
2009, the GOM and the International Labor
Organization contributed the equivalent of USD
337,758 to ten Moroccan NGOs to implement programs
on combating child labor, raising awareness and
rescuing children.
We note that the GOM has made a concerted effort to
respond to USG requests for information on TIP
developments, but it lacks the bureaucratic
infrastructure to report requested statistics
6. (SBU) Due to its geographic location, Morocco is
a source for trafficked people, a destination
country, and a place of transit. Morocco faces a
number of substantial socio-economic challenges
including poverty, high levels of illiteracy,
unemployment and clandestine migration, all of which
contribute to the problem of trafficking. Spain has
increased funding for and cooperation with Moroccan
border security forces to prevent clandestine
migration. Clandestine sub-Saharan migrants, who
are especially vulnerable to trafficking, have
increasingly taken up residence in Morocco because
of the success of the Spanish-Moroccan border
security measures. END OVERVIEW.
Response to Reporting Questions
7. (SBU) PARAGRAPH 25: Morocco's TIP Situation.
-- 25/A. Sources for information on Trafficking in
Persons (TIP) include the Moroccan Ministry of
Justice (MOJ); the Ministry of Interior (MOI), in
particular the Directorate of Borders and Migration;
the Ministry of Social Development, the Family, and
Solidarity (MOSD); the Ministry of Employment and
Professional Training (MOEPT), and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MFA). In addition,
international organizations such as IOM, UNHCR,
UNDP, UNIFEM and UNICEF have provided information.
International NGOs such as Caritas, Medecins sans
Frontieres (MSF), and Christian churches that
provide assistance directly to the migrant community
are well placed to provide insight into their
situations. National NGOs, especially those
focusing on women and children, such as Bayti,
INSAF, Solidarite Feminine, Fondation Occidental
Oriental, the Moroccan Association of Women's
Rights, the Democratic League Defending Women's
Rights, the anti-pedophilia organization Hands Off
My Child, and others were able to provide a picture
of the situation of exploited women and children.
-- In February 2010 the GOM validated an IOM study
detailing trafficking in Morocco. The report
provides a comprehensive picture of the types of
trafficking in Morocco but focuses exclusively on
victims trafficked across international borders,
principally Moroccans trafficked for sexual
exploitation or forced labor to Europe and the
Middle East and sub-Saharans trafficked through
Morocco to Europe. The report entitled
"Transnational Trafficking of Persons: Situation and
Analysis of the Moroccan Response" is scheduled to
be publicly available in February or March 2010 and
includes a list of legislative and policy
recommendations for the GOM to improve its response
to trafficking in persons.
-- The IOM report did not address the issue of
internal trafficking or child labor, especially the
widespread problem of "petites bonnes" (i.e., young
rural girls brought to urban areas to work as
domestic servants). GOM and UN officials reported
UNICEF and UNIFEM, with the cooperation of the GOM,
plan to undertake a second study that will deal with
internal trafficking; that is scheduled to begin
this year.
-- 25/B. Morocco is a country of origin, transit
and for men, women, and children subjected to
conditions of commercial sexual exploitation and
forced labor. Domestic trafficking generally
involves young rural children recruited to work as
child maids or laborers in urban centers. Morocco
is also a country of transit and destination for
internationally trafficked men, women and children,
principally from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. It is
a country of origin for men, women and children
trafficked to European countries and the Middle
-- Both Moroccan boys and girls were at risk of
being trafficked internally for labor. Young girls
were trafficked from the countryside to work as
domestic laborers in larger cities. These young
girls were especially vulnerable to abuse. They are
paid a minimal wage, which is frequently sent
directly to their parents; they do not attend
school; and they are susceptible to physical and
sexual abuse by their employers. The phenomenon is
so widespread in part due to the pervasive mentality
of urban people who view having a young maid to be a
form of charity. These employers believe they are
helping a rural family financially, providing a
place for the young girls to live, and giving them
job training. Boys were farmed out as apprentices
in the artisanal sector, construction field or in
mechanic shops where they worked carrying supplies
and performing menial tasks.
-- Up-to-date and accurate information on the number
of children trafficked for labor is not available.
A 2003 study by UNICEF entitled "Understanding
Children's Work" (UCW) estimated that 600,000
children between the ages of 7 and 14 worked. A
2001 study by Save the Children estimated that at
that time between 66,000 and 88,000 children were
employed as child domestics. That represented 2.3
percent to 3 percent of the total child population
in the 7 to 15 age group (total of 2.87 million).
-- The employment of non-Moroccan nationals as
domestic workers is very uncommon though there is a
small community of Filipinos and other nationalities
from Asia working in Morocco. The IOM TIP report
found four cases of Filipino women recruited in
their homeland for employment as domestic servants
who then became trafficking victims in Morocco.
According to IOM, upon arrival the women were made
to work long hours; received low or no salaries;
were made to repay the price incurred for their
travel and hiring fees; had their travel documents
confiscated; and saw their freedom of movement
limited. IOM also noted that their employers
threatened the domestics with arrest by the police
if they attempted to leave.
-- The phenomenon of children trafficked to Europe,
often with the assistance and encouragement of their
families, continued to be a problem. Families
typically sent these unaccompanied minors with the
expectation that at the age of 18 they would be able
to normalize their situation and work to support
their families in Morocco. In 2007, the GOM and
Spain signed an agreement to facilitate the
repatriation of the over 6,000 minors living in
Spain. To date, these repatriations have not
occurred and MOI officials reported that minors,
albeit in low numbers, continued to be found among
the clandestine migrants. In September 2009 the
Moroccan and Spanish media reported on the
interception of six minors aboard a smuggling ship
along the coast of Tarifa, Spain. The children
ranged in age from 10 to 16 years old. Spain via
its international aid agency and Italy via IOM-
funded programs in 2009 assisted in the community
development of areas that are a source for
unaccompanied minors.
-- Sub-Saharan women, who often began their journeys
as voluntary migrants, were forced into prostitution
to pay off debts on arrival in Morocco or while
still en route to Europe. The IOM TIP report, NGOs
and Christian charitable organizations that work
with these women reported that criminal gangs of
Nigerians are responsible for running such
trafficking rings to Europe and frequently run
brothels in Morocco to exploit the women while in
transit. According to a report issued by MSF in
2007 and confirmed by NGOs that work with migrants,
these Nigerian criminal gangs are well organized and
keep sub-Saharan women in captivity in houses in
Casablanca, Rabat and Nador for prostitution. The
women reportedly suffer from terrible treatment
including beatings, torture and sexual violence.
-- In addition, Moroccan women were trafficked to
Syria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the U.A.E. and other
Arab Gulf countries with the promise of high
salaries working in hotels, restaurants or as
domestic workers and forced upon arrival to work in
bars and brothels. According to media reports, in
January 2010 a criminal court in Abu Dhabi, the
United Arab Emirates, sentenced seven men to life in
prison and six others, including one Moroccan woman,
to ten year sentences for their role in a human
trafficking ring. The 18 victims were all Moroccan
women brought to the Gulf through a Moroccan
recruiter and promised high salaries working in
hotels. Upon their arrival they were forced into
prostitution, locked in apartments, threatened and
beaten. The Moroccan daily newspaper Al Misaa (The
Evening) reported in January 2010 that 500 Moroccan
women, licensed as "artists and dancers" but working
as prostitutes in upscale hotels, were expelled from
Bahrain during the summer of 2009. GOM officials
acknowledged the trafficking problem in Bahrain but
were skeptical of Al Misaa's sourcing and expressed
doubts as to the alleged large numbers.
-- The Hassan II Foundation for Moroccans Resident
Abroad (MREs or Marocains Residents a l'Etranger)
published a report in 2007, noting that MRE
employment in the Gulf was comprised largely of
female workers (70 percent) and that in most cases
the work performed once in country did not
accurately correspond to their contracts. The
report also stressed that many of the women,
especially those employed under "artist contracts,"
were engaged in prostitution. According to
statistics from the Moroccan Ministry of Employment
and Professional Training (MOEPT), between the years
2000 and 2006 there were 2,046 Moroccans with "art
and music" contracts in the Gulf Council Cooperation
(GCC) countries. This number included 1,519 in
Bahrain, 387 in Oman, and 125 in the U.A.E. The
report also noted that while not all contracts are
fraudulent, MREs are also employed in other fields
and then trafficked into prostitution. The report
also indicated that for the same time period, the
MOEPT reported 1,759 Moroccans were employed in
hotel management, 888 as hairdressers, 414 as
domestics, 447 as beauticians, 364 as tailors, and
in numerous other professions.
-- Neither the GOM nor NGOs could provide accurate
statistics on the numbers of children and/or women
trafficked for sexual exploitation though all
parties acknowledged that the problem existed. A
2008 study of prostitution in Morocco by the NGO
Pan-African Organization Fighting against AIDS
(OPALS) found that children under the age of 15 were
exploited principally in the following areas and
towns: Azrou (Ain Louh), Beni Mellal and the region
of Meknes (El Hajeb). The NGO Touche Pas a Mon
Enfant (TPME or Hands Off My Child), which works
with victims of pedophilia and child sexual
exploitation, especially in Marrakesh and Agadir,
published an annual report in 2009. The report
recorded 306 cases of sexual abuse in 2008 and noted
that the true number of cases is unknown. TPME
reported direct involvement in 166 cases while 140
others were gleamed from press reports. These cases
of sexual abuse included a wide range of crimes
including incest, rape of a minor and other crimes
that are not considered trafficking crimes.
-- TPME and other NGOs report that sex tourism is a
problem especially in popular tourist destinations
such as Tangier, Agadir, and Marrakesh. The clients
are typically from the Arab Gulf countries and from
Europe. The Moroccan media reported that in May
2009, 16 Saudi nationals and 2 Libyans were arrested
for their participation in an upscale prostitution
ring in Casablanca. According to the press, the
foreign nationals, who were accused of operating a
human trafficking ring and debauchery of minors,
were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six
months to five years and fines up to 20,000 Dirham
(USD 2,500) in June 2009. The Moroccan owner of the
apartment and doormen were sentenced to three and
half years in prison.
-- The IOM TIP report noted a limited number of
alleged cases of Moroccan adults trafficked to
Europe. In one alleged case a group of youth from
Beni Mellal and Khouribga purchased a contract to
work legally in Spain for 5,000 Euros. Upon
arrival, the youth discovered the employing company
was fictitious and the Moroccan intermediary
demanded they begin work as drug dealers lest they
be deported. In another case reported on by the
newspaper Ash Sharq Alawsat in February 2009, a
group of Moroccan women were forced into
prostitution in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta to pay
the debts incurred by smuggling them to Europe.
-- While there are no accurate statistics on the
numbers of internationally trafficked victims in
Morocco, the MOI Directorate of the Border and
Migration reported that the GOM dismantled 130
trafficking and smuggling networks in 2009. IOM,
with the cooperation of the GOM, voluntarily
repatriated 1,258 illegal migrants in 2009. MOI
successfully thwarted the attempted illegal
migration of 5,549 people of which 2,672 were
Moroccans and 2,877 were non-Moroccans. The Royal
Moroccan Navy intercepted 131 sub-Saharan migrants
on wooden boats attempting illegal crossings in
2009. These numbers are significantly lower than in
previous years. The MOI attributed the decrease to
its strong cooperation with the Spanish Government
and MOI's increased efficiency in monitoring its
borders. UNHCR, IOM and NGOs that work with the
migrant population estimate there are between ten
and twenty thousand sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco
at any given time.
-- 25/C: Women and children trafficked for sexual
exploitation both internally and abroad are
frequently misled as to the nature of their work.
According to media reports of these women they are
frequently approached by someone who offers them a
high-paying job as a waitress or dancer in a hotel
or work as a maid in Gulf countries. Upon arrival
the women are met by a new party who confiscates
travel documents and reveals to them the true nature
of their work. Reports about individual cases show
that many of these women are locked into hotels or
apartments, threatened, beaten, starved and suffer
psychological trauma. The women are often told they
need to pay off debts incurred to bring them to the
country. The costs demanded are sometimes
exorbitant and impossible to repay. Sub-Saharan
women and children who illegally migrated to Morocco
are also at greater risk for being trafficked and
sexually exploited. NGOs reported that sub-Saharan
women suffer horrific treatment including beatings,
torture and sexual violence.
-- Families are frequently complicit in the
trafficking of their children to be domestics
servants and apprentices since the family is
typically the recipient of the child's wages.
Domestic servants are exclusively young girls who
start working as young as seven years of age.
Reports by UNICEF and by the Municipality of
Casablanca found that these domestic servants or
"petites bonnes" work an average of 67 hours per
week, are illiterate in over 80 percent of the
cases, do not attend school and receive an average
monthly salary of USD 50. Child domestics are
especially vulnerable to physical, emotional and
sexual abuse by their employers. Non-governmental
organizations such as Bayti, which works with street
children, and INSAF and Solidarite Feminine, which
works with unwed mothers, reported that the
overwhelming majority of their beneficiaries are
former child domestics who have fled from abusive
-- A 2003 report sponsored by UNICEF, the ILO, and
the World Bank, "Understanding Children's Work,"
found that young boys who work in artisan workshops,
construction, garages and factories face conditions
that are often dangerous and hazardous to their
health. Moroccan officials have expressed concern
that these hazardous conditions may remain a
problem, but told us that no more up-to-date study
-- 25/D: Children living in remote rural areas,
with large impoverished families, and who have
parents with little or no formal education, are more
likely to be targeted by traffickers for work in
urban areas. A 2001 study by the Municipality of
Casablanca of child maids in the city found that 87
percent were born in rural areas, 83 percent were
illiterate, 45 percent were from families of 8-10
people, and in 70 percent of the cases the child's
father was dead. Typically children from northern
regions such as Tetouan, Nador, El Hoceima and Oujda
are more likely to be trafficked to Europe. Middle
Atlas and High Atlas children supply labor to the
artisanal shops in Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh and
Casablanca. Sub-Saharan women often are forced to
prostitution to support themselves and are
particularly vulnerable to robbery, violence and
rape. They are unlikely to report crimes for fear
of being deported.
-- 25/E: Traffickers of child labor, known as
"simsars" or middlemen, typically visit remote
villages in search of destitute families in order to
place the children as either domestics or
apprentices in urban areas. The middlemen
negotiate, for a fee, the salary that the family
will be paid for the child's work. According to the
IOM TIP report, the Nigerian criminal gangs that
prey on sub-Saharan migrants are organized along
ethnic lines into "houses" which have a chief based
in Oujda, even if there are subsidiary branches in
Morocco's larger cities. These gangs compete for
control of the trafficking of sub-Saharan migrants.
The gangs are allegedly involved in diverse criminal
activities including drug trafficking, human
smuggling and prostitution. The IOM report stated
that there are also Moroccan criminal gangs with
international ties that are involved in the
smuggling of drugs and contraband as well as people.
Traffickers working as intermediaries for networks
in the GCC countries are typically found in
Morocco's larger cities. Though some are reported
to work out of travel agencies, most intermediaries
operate by referral and also look for recruits in
the hotels and nightclubs in the cities.
8. (SBU) PARAGRAPH 26 A-B: The GOM acknowledges
that trafficking is a problem. While the MOJ is
designated as the coordinating ministry for
trafficking issues, the MOI is the primary ministry
dealing with prevention, enforcement and protection
issues. Within the MOI, the Directorate of
Migration and Border Security dealt with clandestine
immigration while prostitution and sexual
exploitation fall under the police. Three other
ministries were chiefly responsible for child labor
issues: The Ministry of Employment and Professional
Training is responsible for enforcing the Labor
Code; the Ministry of Social Development, the
Family, and Solidarity oversees the National Action
Plan for Children; and the Ministry of National
Education, specifically its Department of non-Formal
Education, tries to provide remedial education and
job training to child workers. Prosecution of
individuals charged with trafficking or violations
of labor laws fell to the Ministry of Justice.
-- 26/C: The Government is limited in its ability
to address trafficking problems in some areas,
principally in providing sufficient resources, human
and otherwise, to deal with the problem. For
example, the MOEPT employs 421 inspectors for the
entire country, 45 of which are designated as child
labor focal points. The number of inspectors is
inadequate to deal fully with the scope of the
problem of child labor. In addition, the inspectors
do not have the legal authority to check homes,
preventing them from enforcing the question of child
labor. Morocco is also very limited in the social
services it is able to offer victims and relies
principally on NGOs and charitable organizations to
prvide services.
-- Corruption and impunity remaied problems and
reduced police effectiveness andrespect for the
rule of law. Petty corruption i widespread among
the police and the Gendarmerie,and broader,
systemic orruption undermined bothlaw enforcement
and the effectiveness of the judcial system. The
MOI increased investigations o abuse, human rights
violations and corruption. As a result, in 2009 the
Government reported thatit prosecuted a total of
282 security officials for various crimes ranging
from "assault and battery leading to death" to petty
bribery throughout Morocco and Western Sahara.
There were prosecutions against approximately 191
employees of the Judicial Police, the Royal
Gendarmerie, the Auxiliary Forces, the Royal Navy,
and prison guards for bribery and influence misuse;
most other cases were for physical abuse or
mistreatment. According to GOM officials, so far
there have been 44 sentencings in connection with
these cases; many of remaining cases are continuing
for procedural reasons.
-- 26/D: The Government does not systematically
monitor anti-TIP efforts and is unable to provide
information on the number of victims trafficked or
the prosecution of traffickers. The GOM was able to
provide some limited information on the number of
smuggling rings intercepted, employers fined for
employing underage workers, and prosecutions for
child sexual exploitation. In February 2010 IOM,
with the cooperation of the GOM, published the first
ever assessment of the trafficking situation in
Morocco and the GOM's response to the problem.
-- 26/E: The GOM provides birth certificates for
all Moroccan nationals and issues a national
identity card for all citizens on their 18th
-- 26/F: The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is
responsible for gathering and recording statics on
the prosecution and sentencing of crimes. The MOJ's
ability to report this information accurately is
limited by the rudimentary reporting system used in
the Moroccan judiciary. All court cases,
testimonies, decisions and sentences are recorded by
hand and compiled at the end of the year by the
Ministry. The most up-to-date information at the
beginning of 2010 comes from 2008. The GOM has
announced ambitious plans to reform the judiciary,
but the Mission anticipates these changes will take
considerable time to implement.
-- 27. PARAGRAPH A-D: No new legislation regarding
trafficking has been enacted since the last TIP
-- Please refer to Post's 2008 TIP report (Ref B)
for detailed information on the specific codes and
penalties for trafficking and sexual and labor
exploitation. There have been no changes to the
laws since the 2008 report. The 2003 Immigration
Act covers the codes and prescribed punishments for
trafficking, the Penal Code for rape, prostitution
and sexual exploitation, and the Labor Code for
child labor and forced labor.
-- In May 2009 the Secretary General of the
Government announced the GOM's intention to sign and
ratify the UN's 2000 Palermo Protocol to Prevent,
Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons; however,
to date it has not yet done so. The IOM report on
Trafficking in Persons in Morocco received final
validation from the GOM in February 2010 and is
scheduled for public distribution shortly. This
report highlights many aspects of the TIP problems
in Morocco and includes recommendations for
legislative and operational improvements, among
which is the passage of a TIP-specific law. The
Ministry of Justice's (MOJ's) senior coordinator for
TIP issues told PolOff that Morocco intends to adopt
many of the report's recommendations and will either
amend the current Penal Code to include specific
anti-TIP crimes or draft a comprehensive TIP law.
The MOJ representative was unable to provide a
timeline for action, however.
-- At the end of 2009 the Ministry of Employment and
Professional Training (MOEPT) and the Ministry of
Social Development, the Family and Solidarity (MOSD)
submitted separate draft bills to the Secretary
General of the Government to address the problem of
child domestics. The MOSD proposal would create
stiff penalties including mandatory prison time for
anyone who employs child domestics, their
traffickers, the families that send the children,
and those, such as neighbors, who are aware of the
situation and fail to report it. Enforcement would
be the responsibility of the police. The MOEPT
proposal would ensure that all domestic workers be
covered by the labor code; that a written contract
be registered with the authorities; and would give
labor inspectors responsibility for enforcement of
the code. The fact that two separate ministries
have submitted draft legislation on the issue is an
indication of the GOM's seriousness about addressing
the issue of child domestics.
-- 27/E: According to the MOI, the GOM broke up 130
trafficking/smuggling rings in 2009 and 220 rings in
2008. The GOM does not distinguish between rings
that are engaged in human trafficking and in human
smuggling. The GOM did not provide any further
specifics on the number of individuals, the laws
under which they were prosecuted and the length of
these sentences.
-- The GOM reported on fines and warnings directed
against employers and companies for using child
labor. The Ministry of Employment and Professional
Development (MOEPT) through its office of labor
inspectors reported that in the first six months of
2009, labor inspectors issued 94 warnings and 39
fines to businesses for employing children under 15
years of age. In addition, the inspectors issued
616 warnings and 19 fines to businesses for
employing children between the age of 15 and 18.
There are 421 labor inspectors charged with
enforcing the labor code. However, the inspectors
are limited in number, resources and investigative
power, which affects their ability to fulfill their
enforcement function.
-- The lack of a specific trafficking law makes it
difficult to know whether a crime actually involved
a trafficking offense and hence is punished
appropriately. The IOM TIP Report gave the example
of a case in 2006 in Rabat in which a woman, who had
been trafficked into prostitution to one of the GCC
countries, returned to Morocco and lodged a
complaint against the recruiter. The man was tried
for fraud and inciting a person to debauchery and
sentenced to one and half years in prison. The
prosecutor has appealed the decision, arguing that
the penalty did not accurately reflect the gravity
of the crime committed.
-- Labor inspectors do not have the authority to
inspect private residences for underage domestic
servants. As in previous years, neither the MOJ nor
the MOEPT was able to point to any cases of fines or
sanctions levied against individuals for the illegal
employment of child domestics or the prosecution of
middle-men or "simsars" who traffic children from
rural to urban areas. In cases of high profile
physical or sexual abuse of child domestics, the GOM
took action to prosecute the perpetrator. In one
highly publicized incident, a 13-year-old child
domestic in the city of Oujda fled her employer
after being allegedly beaten and burned with a metal
iron. The courts prosecuted the employer, the wife
of a judge, and sentenced her to three and half
years in prison in October 2009 for committing
intentional assault and battery on a minor under 15,
as well as for the use of a weapon with malicious
intent. In a previous case in November 2007 a woman
in the city of Mohammedia was sentenced to four
years of prison for beating and injuring a minor
under 15 years of age who worked as her domestic
-- The MOJ provided statistics related to sexual
exploitation and violence against minors but was
unable to identify which cases involved trafficking
victims or to provide sentencing information. The
MOJ reported that in 2008 there 25 cases of
homosexual abuse of children, 138 cases of
exploitation of a child for begging, 73 cases of
exploitation of children in drugs, 25 cases of
facilitating the illegal immigration of a minor, 203
cases of facilitating the prostitution of a minor,
504 cases of sexual assault of a minor, and 1,122
cases of aggravated sexual assault of a minor. The
MOJ also reported that in 2009 10 foreigners were
prosecuted for homosexuality, encouraging a minor to
engage in prostitution, facilitating the
exploitation of a minor and violent rape of a minor;
their sentences ranged from one month to two years
in prison.
-- The anti-pedophilia NGO Hands off My Child (TPME)
issued a report in 2009 attacking the GOM's alleged
weak prosecution and sentencing of those involved in
the sexual abuse of children. The report alleged
that of the 166 cases of sex abuse the NGO worked
on, the average prison term ranged from between four
and six months with a fine ranging between 9,000 and
60,000 Dirham (USD 1,125 and 7,500). The report did
not distinguish between the types of sex crimes or
indicate which might involve trafficking victims.
--27/F. The MOJ reported that judges and public
prosecutors receive training specific to TIP issues
during their initial training program. In addition,
each of the 20 tribunals in Morocco has assigned to
it a women and children's cell that has received
specialized training on TIP related issues. The MOI
also reported that the territorial police and border
security officials have received training through a
TIP module. In April 2009, the MOJ conducted an
awareness raising course for magistrates about
victim protection and working with victims who have
been affected by violence or sexual exploitation.
There were 80 magistrates, 10 judicial police, and
10 Ministry of Health representatives present at the
course. Training programs for the Royal
Gendarmerie, the Auxiliary Forces, and the police
include modules on trafficking in persons. The U.S.
Department of Homeland Security held a conference in
June 2009 in Casablanca on trafficking in persons
that was attended by GOM customs officials. Since
2006, all Moroccan security forces training includes
training modules on fighting migrant smuggling (17
to 30 hours according to the grade of the officer).
The module covers national and international laws,
the migratory situation in Morocco, migratory
movement, control of borders and methods for
preventing illegal immigration. In addition, UNHCR
sponsored a two-week training course in July 2008
for 200 judges and public prosecutors on refugee law
that also included a section on trafficking in
-- The labor inspectors appointed as child labor
"focal points" in each of the 45 inspector offices
received specialized training on the issue of child
labor, forced labor and the worst forms child labor.
-- 27/G: The GOM actively cooperates with Spanish
authorities to prevent the smuggling of people and
goods across the Strait of Gibraltar and to the
Canary Islands. However, the GOM could not provide
information specific to the prosecution or
investigation of instances of trafficking. The GOM
has limited relations with Algeria and the land
border has been closed since 1997. The overwhelming
majority of illegal sub-Saharan migrants enter from
Algeria or Mauritania and are likewise expelled back
across the border.
-- 27/H: Morocco is a party to several bilateral
and multilateral conventions on judicial cooperation
and extradition of criminals with European, Arab,
Asian and other African countries. Morocco has
ratified the 2000 United Nations Convention on
Transnational Organized Crime (CTO). Article 18 of
the CTO stipulates mutual legal assistance in the
prosecution and investigation of crimes covered by
the convention. In addition, the GOM has a Mutual
Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the United
States, but it does not include provisions for
extradition. The Mission is not aware of the GOM
extraditing any individuals charged with trafficking
and in 2009 the GOM did not have any pending or
concluded cases of extraditing trafficking offenders
to the United States.
-- 27/I: There was no evidence of national
government involvement in, or tolerance for,
trafficking. Press reports, anecdotal information
and information from local NGOs indicated that
corruption among members of Morocco's security
forces likely contributes to the problem.
Trafficking of persons to Europe is integrally
connected to other lucrative illicit activities such
as the smuggling of migrants, drugs and other
-- 27/J: The MOI was unable to provide statistics
concerning any prosecutions of GOM officials
specific to TIP-related crimes.
-- The MOI did provide general information on the
prosecution of security officials for bribery and
corruption. In 2009 the GOM reported that it
prosecuted 191 employees of the Judicial Police, the
Royal Gendarmerie, the Auxiliary Forces, the Royal
Navy, men in power and prison guards for bribery and
abuse of power. 44 people were sentenced to terms
of prison ranging from one-month suspended sentence
to 4 years imprisonment, while the remaining cases
are still under adjudication. The GOM also
indicated that 68 of the cases involved officers of
the Royal Gendarmes, mostly involving petty bribes
extorted from motorists. The GOM was not able to
provide information on which, if any, of these cases
involved TIP-related bribery or corruption.
-- 25/K: In recent years the GOM has contributed
troops to UNOCI and UNMIK. There were no incidents
or accusations of trafficking or sexual abuse
against Moroccan troops in 2009. The UN
investigated accusations of sexual abuse against GOM
forces participating in a peacekeeping mission in
Cote d'Ivoire in 2007 and concluded that there was
insufficient evidence to charge any of the
personnel. All Moroccan soldiers participating in
UN peacekeeping missions receive training on the
issue of sexual exploitation.
-- 27/L: Morocco has a problem with sex tourism.
According to NGO sources, media reports about
trafficking rings, the IOM TIP report, and a 2003
UNICEF report on sexual exploitation of children in
Marrakech, Europe and the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) countries are believed to be the principal
countries of origin for sex tourists. In 2009, the
MOJ reported that 10 foreigners were prosecuted for
homosexuality, encouraging a minor to engage in
prostitution, facilitating the exploitation of a
minor and violent rape of a minor; they received
sentences that ranged from one month to two years in
prison. The MOJ was not able to provide information
on the nationality of the individuals. The MOJ was
not able to provide information on how many
foreigners were prosecuted or expelled for their
involvement in sex tourism. According to media
reports, 16 Saudi nationals and 2 Libyan nationals
were given sentences ranging from six months to five
years in prison for their involvement in a
prostitution ring. We are not aware of Moroccan
nationals traveling abroad to engage in sex tourism.
Moroccan law does not include child sexual abuse
laws with extraterritorial coverage similar to the
-- 28/A: The GOM does not have a formalized system
to provide protection to victims and witnesses. The
security forces can and will intervene to ensure the
short-term safety of a victim.
-- 28 B: The GOM did not have assistance services
specifically targeted at victims of trafficking and
relied on the NGO community to provide most services
to victims of trafficking. Child victims of abuse
are, in most cases, placed into the care of a
suitable NGO. The GOM has two Child Protection
Units operating in Marrakesh and Rabat that provide
medical, legal and social services to children who
are the victims of violence or sexual abuse. The
GOM also has established an emergency telephone
hotline known as the "green line" for people to
report incidents of abuse against women or children
and for referral services. The GOM has recently
also undertaken a mobile assistance program in
Casablanca called SAMU which provides medical care
and social services to vulnerable women and
children. The GOM has created "women and children"
focal points at certain courts in Rabat and
Casablanca that assist victims with legal services
and help them to navigate the judicial proceedings.
The Foundation Hassan II for Moroccans Resident
Abroad has a budget to assist Moroccan citizens in
situations of distress while abroad. Morocco's
Center for Migrant Rights provided counseling
services, including an explanation of one's legal
and civil rights, to Moroccan migrants. However, the
Center did not offer legal representation, shelter,
or medical or psychological services.
-- 28/C: Legal residents of Morocco who are the
victims of violence or sexual abuse are able to
access the GOM's health services, including
psychological care, typically by first consulting
with a primary care physician. The GOM, as a
general rule, does not provide medical and
psychological care for illegal migrants. Charitable
organizations such as Caritas, Medecins sans
Frontiers (MSF) and others provide limited and basic
medical care to the migrant population and in some
individual cases have been able to arrange for the
emergency care of non-resident foreigners.
--28/D: The GOM does not have procedures in place
to provide government assistance, including
temporary to permanent residency status, for victims
of trafficking.
-- 28/E: The GOM does not provide longer-term
shelter or housing benefits or other resources to
victims of trafficking.
-- 28/F: According to the Ministries of Justice and
Interior, the GOM does not have an established
referral process to transfer TIP victims detained,
arrested or placed in protective custody by law
enforcement authorities. Formal procedures to
provide victim services for Moroccan nationals do
not appear to exist, beyond the possibility of
referrals to NGOs and charitable associations. Non-
Moroccan citizens are generally illegally present in
the country and subject to deportation proceedings.
There are some services available to child and
female victims which are covered in other parts of
the report.
-- 28/G: The GOM was unable to provide information
on the number of victims trafficked. Morocco did
not differentiate between victims of trafficking and
smuggled migrants. Foreign trafficking victims were
generally treated as illegal migrants. They were
often arrested and deported along with other
migrants. Embassy has received credible reports
that Morocco routinely rounded up illegal sub-
Saharan migrants and left them at the Algerian
border, often without food or water; however,
Moroccan authorities deny that such expulsions take
place. NGOs and others familiar with these cases
have expressed concern that migrants left in this
"no man's land" between the Algerian and Moroccan
authorities were particularly susceptible to
robbery, violence and extortion at the hands of
criminal gangs that control the smuggling of
contraband in the area.
-- 28/H: The GOM does not have a formal system to
proactively identify victims of trafficking among
high-risk persons with whom they come in contact.
-- 28/I: Sub-Saharan victims of trafficking, while
they may participate in the judicial proceedings
prosecuting traffickers, are usually deported. An
MOJ official informed PolOff that judges have the
discretion to ignore a TIP victim's illegal presence
when confronted with a case of trafficking.
However, there are no formal procedures in place to
protect the victim and ensure he or she is not
-- In 2003 Parliament changed the Penal Code so that
runaway child maids may be administratively returned
to their families instead of being arrested for
vagrancy. If returning them to their parents was
not possible or feasible, they would be placed in
separate youth centers, not mixed in with juvenile
-- 28/J: While victims were not encouraged to file
civil suits against traffickers, they often
testified on behalf of the GOM when it sought to
prosecute trafficking cases. Specific numbers of
victims who testified were not available.
-- 28/K: The GOM provides training to its consular
officials on TIP issues. The GOM did assist
trafficking victims, principally women in Gulf and
Arab countries, to return to Morocco and provided
assistance with travel documents and transport home.
The GOM was not able to provide the number of TIP
victims assisted in 2008.
-- 28/L: The Mission is not aware of any financial
or medical assistance provided to Moroccans
repatriated as victims of trafficking.
-- 28/M: IOM and UNHCR are the primary
organizations that provide assistance to trafficking
victims. UNHCR has a range of health, education and
financial services that are available only to those
with recognized refugee claims. IOM is able to
provide voluntary repatriation and a reintegration
program to migrants seeking to return home. In 2009
IOM assisted in the voluntary return of 130 migrants
from Morocco. In addition, IOM in conjunction with
the Moroccan, Spanish and Italian Governments worked
to establish shelters and a system to assist
Moroccan minors who have been the victims of
trafficking abroad. International NGOs such as
Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF), Caritas and several
Christian charitable organizations provided basic
medical care and limited financial assistance to
clandestine migrants in Casablanca, Rabat and
northern areas such as Oujda, Nador, and Tangier.
These NGOs did not receive funding from the Moroccan
-- 29/A: The Government has periodically undertaken
awareness-raising campaigns related to the abuse of
children, child labor and sexual exploitation. In
2007 the GOM ran an anti-child labor awareness-
raising campaign that included billboards,
advertisements on buses and radio spots. The
Ministry of Employment and Professional Training
(MOEPT) has prepared a new anti-child labor campaign
for 2010. The MOEPT shared details of the campaign
and campaign material with PolOff. The campaign is
scheduled to begin in April 2010 and will include
radio, print and other media advertisements to raise
awareness about the dangers and the legal
ramifications of employing child maids.
-- 29/B: The GOM closely monitors and attempts to
combat clandestine migration though it does not
differentiate between illegal migration and
trafficking. The GOM does not have procedures in
place to identify or screen for victims of
trafficking along its borders.
-- 29/C: The Ministry of Justice has the lead in
coordinating GOM policy on trafficking. In
practice, the MOI is responsible for preventing and
enforcing trafficking related statues.
-- 29/D: The GOM has produced a document entitled,
"The National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking,"
which was formulated in 2007 by the Ministry of
Interior under the supervision of the Directorate of
Migration and Border Control along with an inter-
ministerial committee of coordination. The plan
describes the GOM's strategy in terms of prevention,
combating trafficking and protection. The plan is
largely an overview of past democratization and
human rights reforms and current efforts to control
the borders and stem illegal migration and
smuggling. The plan does not address in a concrete
fashion current anti-TIP efforts or intended
-- In 2006 the GOM launched its "National Plan of
Action for Children," outlining the government's
strategy for 2006-2015 and headed by the king's
sister, Princess Lalla Meryem. The plan's four
goals are to improve children's health and
education; protect children from abuse, violence,
and exploitation; and combat HIV/AIDs. As part of
the plan and the GOM's overall anti-child labor
efforts, the Ministry of Employment and Professional
Training (MOEPT) led by the Office of the Director
of Work, in conjunction with ILO-IPEC and local NGO
partners, oversaw a number of anti-child labor
programs. There are currently 10 anti-child labor
programs being funded, some of which began in 2007
and which will continue up to 2010. For fiscal year
2009, the GOM and IPEC contributed the equivalent of
USD 337,758 to the NGOs to implement programs on
combating child labor, raising awareness and
rescuing children.
-- 29/E: The Ministry of Justice informed the
Mission that, in conjunction with the Ministry of
Tourism, an anti-sex tourism plan of action was
under discussion. The Mission is not aware of any
further steps taken by the Government on this issue.
-- 29/F: The Ministry of Justice reported it was
not aware of any cases of Moroccan citizens involved
in child sex tourism outside Morocco. The mission
is not aware of any steps taken by the GOM to reduce
the participation of Moroccan nationals in
international child sex tourism.
-- 29/G: Post reported in 2008 in detail about
steps that Morocco has taken to enforce a "zero
tolerance" standard for its troops involved in UN
peacekeeping missions in 2005 and 2007 (Ref B).
Morocco provides training to all of its UN
peacekeepers to sensitize them to the issue of
sexual exploitation.
11. (U) Mission POC on TIP issues is Matthew W.
Lehrfeld, Political/Labor Officer, ConGen
Casablanca, tel.: +212-522-26-50, ext. 4151; fax:
212-22-20-80-96; mail: Unit 9400, Box 24, DPO, AE
09718; pouch: 6280 Casablanca Place, Washington, DC
20521-6280; email:
12. (U) Ambassador Kaplan approved this message.
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