Home Institution

University of Mary Washington

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


The principal focus of this research paper is to analyze the prevalence and status of child laborin the Kingdom of Morocco and reflectupon the compounding conditions perpetuatingitsuse in the labor market, especially pertaining to the domestic sphere.Despite several regulationsoutlawing its practice, the use of child labor is common across many industries but working conditionsfound in the domestic sectors are particularly severe. Consequently,the primary subjects of this study are concentratedaroundchildrenemployed within the household as maids known as “petite bonne” or little maids[1]. Many of these child maidssuffer physical, verbal, sexual andpsychological abuses by their employers. Additionally, they are sometimes forced to work long hours and are paid far less than the standard minimum wage.Despite efforts by the government and others to discontinuethe practice through legislation and education campaigns, child labor remains a significant issue withinthe entirety of the Moroccan labor market with thousands of minors working illegally[1], many suffering under unjust conditions and treatment. Leaving aside these existing human rights violations, the exploitation of these childrencomes at a great expense to Moroccan society depriving thenextgeneration opportunities for success and a better quality of life through venues like education.My thesis posits present-daychild labor practices are a necessary evil stemming from the monetary needs of lower-income families as they struggle to stay above the poverty line. To explore this issue further I’ve reviewedprevious literature and government legislation on the subject. I also contacted and visited NGOs working within the field and met with experts on child labor. Lastly, I interviewed previously employed domestic maids to hear theirstories and attitudes.From these sources I concluded that the use of child labor hasbeen substantiallyreduced in recent yearsdue to efforts by local, international, and government associations.However, because of income inequalities in rural areas, deeply rooted Moroccan social norms,weak implementation of regulations, insufficient funding, misappropriation of funds, and a lack of coordination between government departments and partners,child labor in Morocco remains a significant problem and willpersistas a social malady unless there is a moreintegrated effortat the institutional and grassroots level. Furtheraidand proper allocation of fundsto fill in the gaps in infrastructure and education are crucial measuresto have a moreeffectiveimpact in eliminating child labor permanently.

[1]Human Rights Watch, Lonely Servitude: Child Domestic Labor in Morocco,November 15, 2012. Available at https://www.hrw.org/report/2012/11/15/lonely-servitude/child-domestic-labor-morocco#page

[2] UNICEF, Situation of Children and Women in Morocco, September 2014


African Studies | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change | Sociology of Culture | Work, Economy and Organizations


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