Morocco has 60,000-80,000 Maids Under the Age of 15

Morocco has 60,000-80,000 Maids Under the Age of 15

An underaged Moroccan maid.

In Morocco, a growing concern is capturing international attention, as the country grapples with the issue of underage domestic workers, often referred to as ‘Petite Bonnes’.

According to the Insaf Association, an NGO that defends the rights of women and children in Morocco, there are estimated to be between 60,000 and 80,000 young maids under the age of 15. Alarmingly, 30 percent of these girls have never attended school, and 49 percent have prematurely left their education behind.

“These are not mere statistics, but the harsh realities of our young girls who are denied their childhood and an education,” said Meriem Othmani, President of the Insaf Association.

Under her leadership, the association has successfully returned around 550 girls, who were forced into early labor, to their families and schools.

meriem othmani insaf
Meriem Othmani, President of the Insaf Association.

The association is pushing hard to combat this issue through various programs like the “Opportunity for All”. The program primarily aims to enhance social and economic integration opportunities for adolescents and youth in vulnerable situations, aiding their transition to a safer and more sustainable working life.

One of the key goals of the program is to tackle school dropout rates and incentivize a return to education. This is achieved by developing a protective school environment and improving the tracking system for students at risk of leaving school.

“The road is long, but we are making progress. The more girls we can get back into school, the more futures we can save from a life of hardship,” Othmani added.

The plight of these young girls, forced into work at an age when they should be learning and playing, is one that presents both physical and psychological risks due to their vulnerable situations. Yet, the efforts by organizations like the Insaf Association provide a glimmer of hope that change is on the horizon, turning the tide on a deeply rooted societal issue.