More than 30,000 children under the age of 15 are employed in Morocco as domestic servants, according to figures released Tuesday by the planning ministry.
A law banning this practice was drawn up by the previous government but has still not been passed by parliament.
During a seminar on Saturday in Rabat, a rights group stressed that the employment of under-age maids was “the result of poverty, illiteracy and the lack of infrastructure in rural zones,” where most child workers come from.
The “little maids” are for the most part “badly paid and submitted to physical and economic violence.”
Once passed, the law against child labor would provide for prison terms and heavy fines for anybody who employs a child under 15 as household help.
“This is a shame for our country, a catastrophe, these figures are alarming,” Fouzia Assouli, president of the Federation of the Democratic League of Women's Rights, told AFP.
“We have ceaselessly pointed out, within the collective that includes a large number of associations, the seriousness of this phenomenon of domestic labor by minors for about 10 years, in order to obtain a regulation in the Labor Code,” she added.
“All this is the responsibility of the state, and even if it's a matter of people's attitude, it is up to the state to change that outlook and if need be to penalize it,” she concluded.