2014 | Human Rights Watch


“In Morocco, thousands of children—predominantly girls and some as young as eight— work in private homes as domestic workers. Known as petites bonnes, they typically come from poor, rural areas hoping for a better life in the city and the opportunity to help their family financially. Instead, they often encounter physical and verbal violence, isolation, and seven-day-a-week labor that begins at dawn and continues until late at night. Although Moroccan law sets 15 as the minimum age of employment, many children —overwhelmingly girls—still enter domestic work at much younger ages. Laws prohibiting the employment of children under 15 are not effectively enforced, and government mechanisms to identify children who are working below the minimum age or are subject to violence and abuse are grossly inadequate. In 2012, Human Rights Watch conducted an investigation into working conditions for child domestic workers in Morocco, interviewing 20 former child domestic workers as well as government officials, lawyers, teachers, and representatives of NGOs, UNICEF, and the International Labor Organization. We found that since our previous 2005 investigation of child domestic work in Morocco, the government had made some progress in reducing overall rates of child labor and increasing school enrollment. However, our investigation revealed continuing and serious violations of child domestic workers’ rights to be free from violence (Article 19), to education (Article 28), to rest and leisure (Article 31), to be free from economic exploitation (Article 32), and to access physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration (Article 39).”