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Morocco Pushes New Anti-Trafficking Law

Source : | 11 September 2015 |  Society | 1533 views

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Miami – Morocco has been long known as a transit country for human trafficking but the real problem of exploitation is also experienced in the Kingdom for which the government believes a new anti-trafficking law will regulate such acts of human rights violations.

According to the UN Women’s website, a seminar was conducted last May that exposed the results of a “study on the trafficking of women and children in Morocco”. The study was done by the UN Women, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation of Switzerland and Morocco’s Ministry of Justice and Liberties.

The current Penal Law definition of “crime” in Morocco is considered ambiguous by the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, which has caused a recurring problem in the prosecution of human exploitation in the Kingdom.

The study found that Morocco is more than a transit country, it is also in fact a country of origin and destination for human trafficking. Due to the inadequacy of addressing the problem, it is defined as “legally invisible” in domestic law making it unreliable to properly estimate the number of violations associated with it.

A bigger problem raised by UN Women due to the Kingdom’s vague crime law is the impossibility of “Moroccan officials to intervene across borders” when Moroccan nationals undergo human trafficking abroad.

Since 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur has been raising the need for more concrete anti-trafficking laws to “simplify the processes of investigation, data collection and prosecution”. The Moroccan Government has approved such new law earlier this year and it is expected to be in effect by October.

For example, in the current law, “the police do not consider instances of trafficking as cases. They treat women as prostitutes, they think they can be forced [to have sex]. It is difficult to prove. The man will lie; he will say he does not know that his wife does that, even if he forced her into prostitution. She can even be accused of adultery,” shared an anonymous source dedicated to help women survivors of violence.

Leila Rhiwi, UN Women’s Maghreb’s Representative said Morocco has made great advancements in recognizing the problematic and assisting its victims but much more needs to be done. She is hopeful the new anti-trafficking law will help adopt better measures.

In order to aid victims of trafficking in persons violations, UN Women has opened “counseling rooms within courts of justice in eight Moroccan cities”.

According to the US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report 2015, “human trafficking, trafficking in persons and modern slavery have been used as umbrella terms for the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, coercion.”

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