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Morocco urged to do more to eliminate human trafficking, Department of State report says

Despite its efforts, Morocco is urged to do more in order to eliminate human trafficking. The country is part of the Tier 2 category, which includes governments that do not fully comply with a TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

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To the 2020 edition of the Trafficking in Persons Report, Morocco does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. Issued by the US State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, the yearly report puts Morocco within its Tier 2 category.

The latter includes countries whose governments do not fully comply with a TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. In this year’s report, Morocco remained in the Tier 2 category as it «demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period».

«These efforts included increased prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, as well as increased identification of trafficking victims and referral to care», the report indicated.

Despite the efforts, Morocco was unable to meet the minimum standards, which include institutionalized, nation-wide victim identification and referral procedures. This keeps victims unidentified and puts them at risk of penalization, arrest, re-trafficking and sometimes deportation.

Recommendations for Morocco

Moreover, the report released in June indicates that the Moroccan government continued to «forcibly relocate some sub-Saharan African migrants from the areas near Ceuta and Melilla—a highly vulnerable population to trafficking in Morocco—without instituting measures to screen for trafficking indicators».

The same report urges the Moroccan government to implement procedures to identify trafficking victims, especially among irregular migrants, create victim referral mechanism and to train judicial and law enforcement authorities on its application.

The report advises the Kingdom to increase officials’ ability to identify internal trafficking cases, provide adequate protection services for victims of all forms of trafficking and ensure that victims are not punished for unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit.

As for prosecution, the report indicated that Morocco increased its efforst to investigate, prosecute and convict traffickers but «the government did not disaggregate data to distinguish human trafficking from migrant smuggling crimes».

Furthermore, the report stressed that Morocco did not report «initiating any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking», after a criminal complaint involved a former member of the Moroccan Mission to the United Nations in New York, his ex-wife, and her brother.

The two had been charged with, among other crimes, conspiring to commit visa fraud from 2006 to 2016 in order to exploit foreign domestic workers from the Philippines, Morocco, and other countries.

For the record, the report includes the profiles of other neighboring countries. In the MENA region, Algeria, Syria and Iran are listed in the Tier 3 category, comprising countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

Just like Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Oman are the only Tier 2 countries in the region.

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