Moroccan Sex Workers Face Recent Spotlight

Kayla Dwyer, SIT Graduate Institute - Study Abroad

Morocco: Field Studies in Journalism and New Media

The Pitch

The prostitution scene in Morocco has been thrust into public discourse in recent months, but the conversation has taken the form of negative public reaction to a Moroccan filmmaker’s movie about prostitutes in Marrakech, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival around the same time a Moroccan government survey quantified the sex worker industry in the Muslim kingdom. The survey registers over 19,000 women working as prostitutes in four major cities but does not include Marrakech, where Nabil Ayouch’s “Much Loved” takes place. While both shed light on the issue of prostitution, they have drawn criticism for skimming over the everyday lives of these women as individuals — the majority of whom do not experience the riches and party scenes like those featured in the film — and how they are treated in the context of an Islamic society.