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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                          

Kingdom of Morocco

Moroccan economic policies brought macroeconomic stability to the country in the early 1990s but have not spurred growth sufficient to reduce unemployment - nearing 20% in urban areas –

Moroccan authorities understand that reducing poverty and providing jobs are key to domestic security and development. In 2005, Morocco launched the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), a $2 billion social development plan to address poverty and unemployment and to improve the living conditions of the country's urban slums.

Long-term challenges include improving education and job prospects for Morocco's youth, and closing the income gap between the rich and the poor, which the government hopes to achieve by increasing tourist arrivals and boosting competitiveness in textiles.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Morocco.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Child prostitution and the spread of AIDS

AIDScience, December 20, 2000

[accessed 22 March 2011]

There are at least 13 million children in Morocco, most of whom must make a living any way they can to help support their families, including prostitution.

The Moroccan AIDS Service Organization began a study to gather information regarding the habits of male prostitutes in hopes of recommending a preventative methods program. The study revealed that male prostitutes had little or no awareness of the dangers of HIV and had no skills sets with which to bargain with their clients for safe sex. Although a program educating people about the disease and the prevention of it was established as a result of the study, efforts are hampered because local police consider the possession of condoms as proof of illegal prostitution and, thus, many prostitutes are reluctant to carry the prophylactics with them.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Djabir Riziki, ECPAT International, 2015

[accessed 3 September 2020]


Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Morocco. The report looks at protection mechanisms, responses, preventive measures, child and youth participation in fighting SEC, and makes recommendations for action against SEC.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 3 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The age of consent is 18. The law prohibits commercial sexual exploitation, sale, offering or procuring for prostitution, and practices related to child pornography. Penalties for sexual exploitation of children under the criminal code range from two years’ to life imprisonment and fines from 9,550 dirhams ($1,000) to 344,000 dirhams ($36,100).

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 21 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Girls and boys working as domestic servants and street vendors are increasingly targets of child sex tourism, particularly in the cities of Marrakech and Casablanca. Use of minors as prostitutes for sex tourists from Europe and the Gulf region has occurred in the village of El Hajeb near Meknes.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 6 June 2003

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[62] The Committee welcomes the hosting by the State party of the Arab-African Forum Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in preparation for the Yokohama Conference and notes that the Penal Code is under review regarding this issue, but remains concerned at the high incidence of sexual exploitation in the State party.  The Committee is also concerned at the fact that the legislation of the State party does not protect all children below 18 years from sexual exploitation as various ages have been set in several acts regarding sexual exploitation.  The Committee is further concerned at the status of child victims of sexual exploitation who may be treated as offenders.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – MOROCCO – According to the Special Rapporteur’s study, the issue of girls being drawn into prostitution should be given more attention. There is a proliferation of reports that a growing number of girls, many of whom have started out as domestic helpers, are taken to Hajeb, in Middle Atlas, where they are made to prostitute themselves.

Report by Special Rapporteur [DOC]

UN Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-ninth session, 6 January 2003$FILE/G0310090.doc

[accessed 22 June 2011]

[56] Awareness about sexual exploitation is increasing. In May 2002, King Mohammed VI requested the Children’s Parliament to pay particular attention to the question of child victims of violence, and a committee of experts has now been appointed to develop a national program against the maltreatment and exploitation of children.  A recent revision of article 446 of the Penal Code provides that certain professionals, notably doctors, must report suspicions of violations having been committed against children.  Other developments include the creation by the Ministry of Human Rights of a network of centers to provide judicial and psychological assistance to children in difficult circumstances and child victims of violence.  However, sex outside marriage is illegal and those over 12 are criminally liable; accordingly, children in prostitution between 12 and 18 would bear criminal responsibility.

Thematic Reports:

Special Rapporteur On The Sale Of Children, Child Prostitution, Child Pornography – 2000

E/CN.4/2001/78, paras. 5, 70;  E/CN.4/2001/78/Add.1,  7 November 2000

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 June 2011]

Concerning the prostitution of boys, the report notes that: the primary reason for boys entering prostitution has to do with their being sent by their families, or choosing for themselves, to leave their homes to seek employment.  On the prostitution of girls, the report notes that unlike boys, it is not culturally acceptable for girls to live on the street.  Many of the girls who work in the brothels in El Hajeb are former child maids.  With regard to child sex tourism, the SR noted that child sex abuse is largely carried out by Moroccans and that there have been few reported cases where children have been used in prostitution for foreigners. The authorities acknowledged, however, that this type of abuse is very hidden and that such cases would rarely come to their attention.

ECPAT International CSEC Overview - Morocco

ECPAT International

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 June 2011]

It is difficult to obtain information on the nature and extent of CSEC in Morocco because of the lack of statistical data. Public belief is that CSEC in the region is rare, almost non-existent. Governments and communities at large believe that this is due to religious education that shows deep respect for the teachings of Islam.

Looking Back Thinking Forward - The fourth report on the implementation of the Agenda for Action adopted at the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm, Sweden, August 1996 [PDF]

ECPAT International, November 2000

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 June 2011]

Child sex tourism is most apparent in Morocco and Egypt. In cities like Cairo, Alexandria, Marrakech and Casablanca and other tourist areas, there is now a relation between tourism and the growth in the commercial sexual exploitation of children.  Girls and boys, who work as domestics and street vendors are targeted by child sex tourists.  A Moroccan NGO, Association Bayti reports that the profile of sexual exploiters of children is changing in Essaouira, Marakesh and Agadir.  Westerners now account for the bulk of the exploiters as opposed to people from the Middle East.  Furthermore, boy prostitution is reported to be a growing phenomenon in Morocco.

A Situational Analysis of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Morocco  [PDF]

Dr. Najat M'jid, ECPAT International, March 2003

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 22 June 2011]

[2.1.1] Prevalence - Official statistics provided by police and judiciary services do not reflect the entire situation because these statistics are based on what cases actually reach police and judiciary personnel. For example, according to police and judiciary services:

1999: 102 cases (17 rapes, 63 attacks on decency, 19 cases of prostitution, 3 other)

2000: 69 cases (9 rapes, 36 attacks on decency, 14 cases of prostitution, 2 other)

2001: 210 cases

2002: 38 cases of adults charged with procuring or incitement of minors to prostitution.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children - Middle East/North Africa region

based on the situation analysis written by Dr Najat M’jid for the Arab-African Forum against Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Rabat, Morocco, 24-26 October 2001 -- Source document (in French): Rapport sur la situation de l’exploitation sexuelle des enfants dans la région MENA, 10 Septembre 2001

[accessed 22 June 2011]

These countries also have in common, however, a number of constraints that have hindered preparation of national plans of action. In all the countries of the region, there is cultural resistance to addressing the problem because the subject is largely taboo.  Often the issue is dealt with more generally under headings such as ‘violence’ and ‘trauma’.  This means that there has been no regional consensus on defining CSEC in law; in some countries, for example, it is looked upon as an indecent act, in others as rape, although in all 20 countries there is some section of the penal code that can be invoked against sexual abuse and exploitation.




Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

WOMEN - The law prohibits prostitution; however, it was prevalent, especially in urban centers. NGO activists estimated that there were thousands of teenage prostitutes in urban centers. Their clientele were both foreign tourists and citizens. In July the government acted against sex tourism, convicting 60 local prostitutes in Agadir, a resort town. Authorities also arrested three young women in Agadir after their photographs were discovered on a pornographic Web site. The arrests drew criticism from human rights activists, who pointed out that the men involved, tourists from Gulf countries and Europe, were not punished.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Prostitution of trafficked minors was a particular problem in the village of El Hajeb near Meknes, as well as in Agadir and Marrakech, which attracted sex tourists from Europe and the Arab Gulf states. To combat prostitution the government amended the penal code in 2003 to make sex tourism a crime, while other amendments increased the penalties for promoting child pornography and child prostitution and for employing underage children. Recent arrests indicate that the amendment had an impact.

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