UNHCR calls for more protection for victims of human trafficking in Morocco and Africa

The UN Refugee Agency, today warned that protection services are sorely lacking for refugees and migrants making the perilous journeys from the Sahel and the Horn of Africa to North Africa and Europe, including surviving victims of human trafficking.

The UNHCR said migrants endure repeated acts of sexual and gender-based abuse, kidnapping for ransom, torture and many other forms of physical and mental abuse. Some victims are left to die in the desert.

Second report of its kind highlights gaps in protection services currently offered, particularly in housing, access to justice, identification of survivors and response to gender-based violence, trafficking and children unaccompanied and separated.

Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Somalia and Sudan are among the 12 countries it covers.

The report, released on the eve of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, mapped the protection services available to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers traveling along these routes.

“I am appalled by the abuses faced by refugees and migrants as they travel through the Sahel, East and Horn of Africa to North Africa, and sometimes to Europe,” said UNHCR’s special envoy for the situation in the central and western Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel. . “Too many lives have been lost or shattered on these roads. »

In Morocco, the UNHCR indicated that the main cities of transit or residence of people on the move are Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech, as well as Tangier, Assilah and Tetouan in the north, Oujda and Nador in the northeast of the country near the border. Algeria, and Fez and Meknes to the east.

“As people on the move attempt to migrate and/or seek asylum, some face exploitation, physical violence and trafficking. Most of the victims of these abuses are women and children.says the report in its Morocco segment.

There are no service providers who work solely on the issue of human trafficking in Morocco. Although Morocco passed a law on human trafficking in 2016, there are gaps in terms of identification, access to care and durable solutions for victims of human trafficking.

However, Morocco is well aware of the migration phenomenon and in 2013, on the high instructions of King Mohammed VI, Morocco implemented a new migration policy following a humanitarian approach in line with Morocco’s international commitments and respectful of the rights of immigrants more to the relevant recommendations of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) in its thematic report entitled “Foreigners and human rights in Morocco for a radically new asylum and immigration policy”

This new political reform triggered the two phases of the operation to regularize irregular migrants in Morocco in 2014 and 2017, which were welcomed with satisfaction by the entire Moroccan political class, Moroccan civil society, the international community and the migrant community of Morocco and thus gave hope to this migrant community for its integration into Moroccan society.

The government’s implementation in 2014 of the National Immigration and Asylum Strategy (SNIA) has reinforced this migration policy with its various axes and components which should enable the successful integration of this class of the population within of their host society.

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