Prosecution of human trafficking in Morocco (TIP 2023)

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The government increased overall anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts.  Law 27.14 criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of five to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine between 10,000 and 500,000 dirhams (DH) ($950 and $47,710) for crimes involving adult victims, and 20 to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine between 100,000 and one million DH ($9,540 and $95,420) for those involving child victims.  These penalties were sufficiently stringent, and regarding sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape.

Despite past conflation of human trafficking and migrant smuggling data, authorities significantly improved efforts to disaggregate and distinguish between smuggling and trafficking cases.  In 2022, the government investigated 120 new trafficking cases, leading to the arrest of 97 suspects, involving 56 sex trafficking and 64 labor trafficking cases (15 forced labor cases, 39 forced begging cases, two “slavery-like practices” cases, and eight forced criminality cases).  This was an increase compared with 85 investigations in 2021.  The government initiated the prosecution of 149 alleged traffickers, an increase compared with the prosecution of 111 alleged traffickers in 2021.  Of the 149 prosecutions in 2022, 110 were for alleged sex trafficking, 17 for forced labor, four for forced begging, 11 for “practices similar to slavery,” and seven for forced criminality.  The government convicted 101 traffickers in 2022, the highest number of trafficking-specific convictions the government has ever reported, and a significant increase from the conviction of 54 traffickers in 2021.  The 101 convictions included 82 sex trafficking convictions, five forced labor convictions, two forced begging convictions, five domestic servitude convictions, one conviction for “practices similar to slavery,” and six forced criminality convictions.  Courts sentenced 11 traffickers to less than one year imprisonment, 29 traffickers to one to two years’ imprisonment, 39 traffickers to one to five years’ imprisonment, 17 traffickers to five to 10 years’ imprisonment, and five traffickers to 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government initiated prosecutions of five officials for trafficking-related crimes such as sexual exploitation or child forced labor but the cases remained pending at the end of the reporting period; the officials worked for the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice (MOJ), and at a government child protection center.  Aside from these cases, the government did not report any new investigations or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking crimes.  In March 2023, the Department of State suspended for one year the A-3 and G-5 visa sponsorship privileges afforded to Morocco mission members because the government declined to waive diplomatic immunity for U.S. criminal proceedings related to human trafficking and serious mistreatment of domestic workers and has not initiated its own prosecution.In December 2019, a diplomat posted to the Moroccan Mission to the United Nations in New York, his ex-wife, and her brother were indicted for, among other crimes, conspiring to commit visa fraud from 2006 to 2016 to exploit foreign domestic workers from the Philippines, Morocco, and other countries.  U.S. authorities arrested the former diplomat’s ex-wife in March 2019; she died in 2021 prior to trial.  The other two defendants remain at large.  The government reported prosecutors interviewed the former diplomat on two occasions in previous reporting periods; however, for the fifth consecutive year, it did not report completing a prosecution or other administrative action to hold the former diplomat accountable.  In June 2022, the government partnered with INTERPOL to arrest an alleged trafficker accused of recruiting and transporting women from Nigeria, through Morocco, to Spain and other European countries where the women were exploited in sex trafficking.  The government also partnered with two foreign governments to form a working group investigating child sexual exploitation, including child sex trafficking; the working group investigated 152 cases but did not report whether those cases involved trafficking indicators.  In 2022, the government submitted two requests to European governments to extradite alleged traffickers facing trafficking prosecutions in Morocco.  The General Prosecutor continued to ensure there were two prosecutors specialized in handling trafficking cases in every court of appeal across the country, resulting in 44 trafficking-specialized prosecutors across Morocco.  The government coordinated trainings, at times in cooperation with international organizations, for prosecutors, border officials, law enforcement, labor inspectors, and other officials on trafficking indicators, investigations, and related topics.

from 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – U.S. Department of State

2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – United States Department of State

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