As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Morocco, and traffickers exploit Moroccan victims abroad. Documented and undocumented foreign migrants, especially women and children, are highly vulnerable to forced labor and sex trafficking in Morocco and as they transit through Morocco to reach Europe.
In 2018, the number of sub-Saharan migrants clandestinely entering the country more than doubled, a majority of whom intend to transit Morocco on their way to Europe. Some female undocumented migrants, primarily from Sub-Saharan Africa and a small but growing number from South Asia, are coerced into prostitution and forced labor in Morocco. Criminal networks operating in Oujda on the Algerian border and in the northern coastal town of Nador force undocumented migrant women into prostitution and begging; networks in Oujda also reportedly force children of migrants to beg. Some female migrants, particularly Nigerians, who transit Oujda are forced into prostitution once they reach Europe. International organizations, local NGOs, and migrants report women and unaccompanied children from Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Cameroon are highly vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labor in Morocco.
Some reports suggest Cameroonian and Nigerian networks force women into prostitution, while Nigerian networks also force women to beg in the streets by threatening the victims and their families; the victims are typically the same nationality as the traffickers. Some women from the Philippines and Indonesia are recruited for employment as domestic workers in Morocco; upon arrival, some are subjected to forced labor, experiencing non-payment of wages, withholding of passports, and physical abuse at the hands of their employers.
According to a November 2015 study conducted by the Moroccan government, with support by an international organization, children are exploited in Morocco for labor, domestic work, begging, and sex trafficking. Some Moroccan boys endure forced labor while employed as apprentices in the artisanal and construction industries and in mechanic shops.
Although the incidence of child domestic workers has reportedly decreased in Morocco since 2005, girls are recruited from rural areas for work in domestic service in cities and some become victims of forced labor. NGOs and other observers reported in 2018 that a significant number of girls work as domestic help in Moroccan households but it is difficult to determine the extent of the problem because of authorities’ inability to access this population. Some family members and other intermediaries coerce Moroccan women into prostitution. Traffickers exploit Moroccan men, women, and children in forced labor and sex trafficking, primarily in Europe and the Middle East. Using force, restrictions of movement, threats, and emotional abuse, traffickers force Moroccan women into prostitution abroad where they experience restrictions on movement, threats, and emotional and physical abuse. Some foreigners, primarily from Europe and the Middle East, engage in child sex tourism in major Moroccan cities.
Adapted from TIP 2019 by the U.S. Department of State