The government maintained minimal efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims. As in past years, the government remained without a formal process and did not report proactive efforts to identify trafficking victims, including within vulnerable populations such as irregular migrants. The government reported that 16 victims were referred to the MOJ’s children and women protection units, and were subsequently provided medical care as needed and referred to NGOs for appropriate specialized assistance. It reported that 10 of the 16 were victims of sex trafficking, one of forced labor, four of forced begging, and one unknown. The government did not report efforts to refer or protect trafficking victims.
The government covered all costs including psychological and medical support, reintegration, and repatriation assistance, including transportation, food, and hospital care as needed, to 426 Moroccans repatriated from Libya, a population vulnerable to trafficking. In partnership with international organizations, the Ministry of Health (MOH) began implementation of a strategic plan to institutionalize care for victims of violence, including foreign migrant women and children, who are vulnerable to trafficking, at reception centers staffed by nurses and social workers at major hospitals, and children/women protection units in Moroccan courts. These hospital-based units provided integrated medical and psychological treatment and social support for an estimated 4,110 child victims of physical violence and 1,130 child victims of sexual violence in coordination with public partners and civil society in 2016, the most recent period for which data was available; however, the government did not report how many of these children were victims of trafficking. The government also increased the number of child protection centers that offer emergency response and reported that 4,300 children participated in child protection center programs.
While the government remained without a formal victim referral process, both the Ministry of Solidarity, Women, Family, and Social Development and MOH coordinated with civil society to provide assistance to trafficking victims. Some local law enforcement officials had an ad hoc referral process—utilizing identified contacts at reception centers and a list of NGO service providers that they shared with local and regional authorities as a resource.
The government began an inter-ministerial working group to improve assistance for and protection of trafficking victims, but remained without protection services designed or funded specifically to assist trafficking victims. Civil society organizations continued to be the primary providers of protection services for trafficking victims. The government reportedly continued to encourage victims to cooperate in investigations against their traffickers, but did not report on the number of victims who provided testimony during the reporting period, whether victims received restitution from traffickers, or how witness confidentiality would be protected.
Although the government drastically decreased deportations of migrants over the last couple of years, it continued to conduct forced internal relocations of irregular migrants. As the government remained without a formal victim identification process and made minimal efforts to identify potential trafficking victims among the vulnerable irregular migrant population, victims likely remained unidentified in the law enforcement system and may have been penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking, such as immigration and prostitution violations. The government provided legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims of trafficking to countries where they might face retribution or hardship.