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Morocco: The Reality of Prostitution

Morocco has the reputation of having a significant rate of prostitution. While it may not be as high as perceived by many in the Gulf countries, Morocco – with the dual distinction of being impoverished and highly touristic – is home to many young women seeking a “way out.” While some go abroad to study or work, others turn to prostitution. Many work in smaller towns in Morocco and are patronized mostly by fellow Moroccans; others become part of Morocco's large and unfortunate sex tourism industry, from which a number of cases are prosecuted each year. Still others turn to the wealthy Gulf countries for work; some make it as hairdressers or entertainers, but others end up – willingly or otherwise – as prostitutes.

One phenomenon in Morocco is that of the student-as-prostitute. Blogger Words For Change has written an excellent piece on the young rural women of Morocco who, finding themselves in the big city for university, end up involved in prostitution. An excerpt:

In the girls’ dorms, Aïcha learned how to dress, to put on make-up, and to talk like a woman. It is also in the university dorms that she was tempted to make some pocket money to pay for the pretty clothes which can make her look like city girls. The first step to the abyss was going out incognito with older men who invited her to good restaurants, and make her discover her charms and feminity. The deadly stab was when she discovered that she had to pay with her body for the few bills to realize her late adolescence fantasies.

Once Aïcha graduated, it was difficult to leave her well-paid night life for miserable desk work or to abandon the lights of the big city for a small house in Lhajeb. She told me with a bitter voice “When I was studying it was just to make pocket money. I didn’t realize that I am a prostitute until it became my full-time job after graduating”. Aïcha is still now living in the city and working as a prostitute to send money to her family and pay for her charges. Her education and beauty make very rich and well-known men from over the world pay for her services.

Another recent post, by Thejoker, touches on what a prostitute in Morocco looks like – anyone else:

There are in fact prostitutes, a simple word from you will turn them on and they will engage automatically a conversation. What is to deplorate is that many of these girls do study, have a poor family and do the job because of a great lack of money. I have seen once a girl, very young, who appeared to me to be virgin, she was scared someone approches her and at the end someone did speak to her, she continued to be fully contracted. It is a real pity what we see in the streets of Casablanca. Some moroccan people say that if a girl doesn't wear the tchadour [veil] then you can be sure that she is a prostitute. It is not like in Europe where the prostitute are recognised by the law. In Morocco it is a real melting pot we cannot know which girl is a prostitute and which girl is not. I suppose that there are some girls wearing jeans and western clothes and who are not prostitutes but every one has to search before finding real love.

23 comments

  • […] Link: Global Voices Online […]

  • P

    This post is named \Morocco: The reality of prostitution\ BY Jillian York…..yet it contains no research and nothing of value written BY Jillian York….When will we finally see an article of value from Jillian, instead of a highly unresearched paragraph throwing the subject open to other people so that the \author\ gains credit for merely starting a topic with a title?

  • ronald trijber amsterdam

    “P. ?” “nothing of value”? “when will we finally see”?

    Listen P. , as we say in Holland: You sound like an Azijnpisser !
    It means as much as pissing vinegar. It suites your somewhat pretentious analisys and anonymous way of responding…

    ronald trijber

  • @P: That’s not what Global Voices is about. My job as an author for Global Voices is to amplify the voices of other bloggers.

    If you want to see researched articles by me, just google my name. They’re elsewhere.

  • P

    Hi Jillian,

    My apologies for the mis-interpretation of the article. As somewhat a non regular, i stumbled across the page from a google news alert for Morocco, looked at it and decided it was rather a sketchy summary of the situation.

    I mean’t no harm and thank you for for enlightening me on the aims of global voices….something that i was previously unaware.

    My apologies for any offence caused to you and i will search for and read some of your articles to fully understand the depth of your work.

  • jalal nali

    really sad,
    you talk about prostitution like a normal thing in Morocco, it isn´t! I´am moroccan and i can asure you that they story you commented is an exception, morocco is an open country but you mistake it with south africa or indonesia or phillipins, “sex tourists” what is this a joke?
    i though that this is a seriouse web site, but unfortunately just sensless articles, another thing morocco is bigger than the one shown in your MAP!
    The Kingdom of Morocco starts at Tangier and finish at lagouira, mauritania Border. thank you

  • mohamed

    Jillian York
    thank you so much for the topic it is so important to treat such topics because of the consequences of it on society,i think that because the Moroccans both men or women are participating in prostitution because of their ignorance of religiuos guidance of Islam which will left them astray,i think the problem of prostitution is more spreaded in Morocco that everyone could imagine it is a cancer that day after day is spreading throught the Moroccan body so we have to face it not trying to ignore it and say there is no prostitution and the real cure for that cancer is the return to Islam who forbids sex outside a legal relation of husband and wife.
    Concerning the map i suppose that you have not to blame Jillian but the international community because no government on the globe recognise your kingdom illegal occupation of western sahara it just appears annexed with Morocco in your favourite channels RTM and 2M and on your net propaganda websites,so i advise you not to blame Jillian next time but to ask your M6 and his Makhzen why they could not the international borders? they could never untill the sahrawi people decided so in a fair referendum which Morocco is scared of.

    • Miroslav Semecky

      Are you talking about more “radical islam”?
      Well I have very important question and I want you to answer it – inside your self. Silently. OK?
      So, would you be able, to have a sex, with ONLY ONE woman in whole your life? ( your wife of course )
      Forget about “quick marriage”.
      The first rule of religion should be RESPECT!
      LEARN TO RESPECT OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.
      Even USAMA was watching porn. So what’s the matter than?

  • The Facts are

    Prostitution in Morocco exists and always existed and will always exist. In fact prostitution exists everywhere, including the golf, Iran, Europe, and the Americas.
    However, Morocco like in many other developing countries with an emerging liberal economy is experiencing new socio-political trends that are totally changing the fabric of their society. Moroccans have joined the club of consumerism and capitalism is changing the old set of values with a new sense of morality. Sex is a big industry and becomes a lucrative good alternative to poverty and marginalisation. Sex like anything else is under the rules of the market and the logic of supply and demand.
    As far as your fundamentalist cry to go back to basic and return to the puritanical religious values, you are just wasting your time. This is an irreversible process and at the end of it Islam will know a reformation and all the Islamic “puritan doctrine” will fail like it did in Europe in the 16th and 17th century. Neo-liberalism will win because it sets people free and gives them a “Raison d’être”. It empowers them and makes them master of their destiny. Then and only then, we will see prostitution slowly disappearing as they will be no reason for it to exist. At this moment in Morocco’s history, it should be seen like a side effect of a cure of an even bigger disease.

    Finally, to claim the existences of a nation called “sahraouis” with a geographically delimited region is simply absurd. Which sahraouis are we talking about?
    Which ones, the ones that live in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Mali, Niger??
    Historically, have we ever had a nation called a Saharaouis Nation that is completely composed from Nomadic tribes that roam the western side of sub-Saharan Africa?
    Please, enough of the Spanish post-colonial rhetoric, and the Algerian backed propaganda.

  • mo

    having just returned from morocco and been to many night clubs i can say that 95% of the women in these are prostitutes

  • I haven’t responded much, but I can tell you that I’ve seen enough prostitutes in Morocco with my own eyes to know they exist; no, it’s not like Thailand (for example), but it’s prevalent, and more so than in my own country.

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