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Finalizing the study on the trafficking in persons phenomenon, the Advisory Council on Human Rights (CCDH) held a meeting with members of the Parliament House of Councillors and House of Representatives, on 12 Novembers 2010, at the headquarters of the Council in Rabat.

This meeting, which was preceded by two meetings with governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders, was an opportunity for Mr. Ahmed Herzenni, CCDH President, to situate the debate on the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. “It is a phenomenon of human slavery that takes us centuries back," he said, adding that "the trafficking in persons is a complex issue that affects women and children in some countries. It is a great challenge indeed".

Mr. Herzenni stressed that the meeting was an opportunity for the parliament, with its two chambers, to cooperate and contribute to submit proposals aiming to fight against this scourge which undermines human dignity.

Outlining the situation of human trafficking in Morocco, Mr. M'Barek Bouderka highlighted the existing legal vacuum in this field in Morocco. He shed light on the absence of reliable and accurate statistics on this phenomenon, which is linked to the transnational organized crime. In this regard, Mr. Bouderka said that the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime’s Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons was adopted by the Council of Ministers in May 2009 but it has not yet been published in the Official Gazette. This protocol is intended particularly to protect women and children against sexual exploitation, slavery and forced labor.

For their part, the parliament members present at the meeting praised unanimously the initiative of the Advisory Council on Human Rights to expand the dialogue on this increasingly alarming phenomenon. They highlighted the importance of the study, conducted by the Council on this phenomenon, which will fill an existing gap in the field. Calling for the revision of provisions that could encourage this phenomenon, in the Family Code, the Labor Code, the Penal Code and the Code of Penal Procedure, the parliament members considered that a bill to be submitted by one of the parliamentary groups is the best way to have a law against trafficking in persons within a reasonable time.

The Representatives of the Nation stressed the importance of such meetings and reiterated their willingness to strengthen cooperation with the Council.

On his turn, Mr. Mahjoub El Haiba, CCDH Secretary General, said that both sides, the Council and the two parliament houses, must work to improve the level of their relations. He pointed out that "human rights issues do not occupy the place they should at the legislative action and the work of harmonization with international treaties, to which Morocco has adhered”.

Regarding the study on the trafficking in persons, Mr. El Haiba stressed that the Council does not claim this study to be exhaustive or definitive, indicating that the very purpose of the discussions and consultations that have been held is to finalize and complete it.

As for the legislative approach to be adopted, Mr. El Haiba said the Council has no clearly defined choice or specific legislative approach, adding that consultations will determine which approach to adopt. He indicated that there are three options: the adoption of specific legislation on human trafficking, the integration of specific provisions in the penal system (Penal Code and Code of Penal Procedure) or the development of a framework law. The legislative framework, in all cases, must respect following principles: protection, prevention, criminalization, penalties, and compensation for victims.

It is noteworthy that the Advisory Council participated, in preparation of the study, in several international meetings on the issue of human trafficking and has considered successful experiences and best practices in the field. It studied international conventions on the phnomenon and considered the existing data and statistics.

The Council has adopted a participatory and integrated human rights based approach. It has taken into account the reality of the phenomenon, the national efforts made to fight against it, the means of international cooperation and the regional experiences in this field, following a vision that aims to protect human dignity.