Prosecution of human trafficking in Morocco (TIP 2019)

The government maintained efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers. Law 27.14 criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of 5 to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines, which were sufficiently stringent, and with regard to sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape.

The law criminalized child trafficking as an aggravated offense, with prescribed penalties of 20 to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of between $21,390 and $213,860. Several pre-existing laws used during the reporting period criminalized some forms of sex and labor trafficking. Generally, penalties under these laws were not sufficiently stringent. Morocco’s penal code criminalized forced child labor through Article 467-2, which prescribed penalties of one to three years’ imprisonment, which were not sufficiently stringent.
The penal code also criminalized “forced prostitution” and “corruption or prostitution of minors” through Articles 497-499, which prescribed penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment; these penalties were sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes such as rape. Article 10 of Morocco’s labor code criminalized forced labor and prescribed penalties of a fine for the first offense and a jail term of up to three months for subsequent offenses; these penalties were not sufficiently stringent.

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The government investigated 80 potential sex and labor trafficking cases involving 231 alleged traffickers during the 2018 calendar year, which demonstrated a significant increase from 34 total investigations in 2017. The government reported the prosecution of 16 cases (14 sex trafficking cases and 2 forced labor cases) and 5 convictions in 2018; these statistics compared to the prosecution of 20 alleged traffickers and four convictions in 2017. The government reported disrupting 188 “migrant trafficking networks” and arresting 1,102 perpetrators, an increase over 2017; it was unclear if any individuals in the networks were prosecuted for trafficking crimes. However, authorities continued to conflate human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

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A member of the Moroccan Mission to the United Nations in New York had allegedly conspired to commit visa fraud related to employment of several foreign workers; an investigation in that matter remained ongoing at the end of the reporting period. The United States could not commence prosecution due to the mission member’s immunity. In November 2018, the Office of the General Prosecutor tasked 42 prosecutors nationwide with lead responsibility for handling human trafficking cases brought before the judiciary in all 13 prefectures. During the reporting period, the government provided several antitrafficking trainings to its officials, including security officials and labor inspectors.
Adapted from TIP 2019 by the U.S. Department of State