The city of Agadir is a well-known Moroccan seaside resort of roughly 950,000 inhabitants, located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The city is growing quickly as many people move here in search of a job in the tourism sector or in fishing. However, they are often disappointed.
Families sometimes struggle to care for their children, and in some cases, children are at risk, especially of commercial sexual exploitation or violence on the streets.
Since 2008, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Agadir.
Although Morocco is clearly not one of Africa's most disadvantaged spots, the beauty of Agadir's beaches is contrasted by the crippling poverty that continues to affect thousands in the city itself and in the suburbs. Nearly 19% of Morocco’s population lives on less than $4 a day. Tourism - generally associated with economic growth - sometimes poses a threat to a country's most vulnerable groups of population. As tourism has increased, commercial sexual exploitation has been on the rise in Agadir. Children need support so that they can continue to live with their families, go to school and be safe from exploitation.
The number of young female domestic workers (‘petite bonnes’) amounts to roughly 70,000 all over Morocco. Domestic labour remains predominantly an urban phenomenon. A study showed that 62% of the girls in domestic service were aged between 13 and 15 years old and that 38% were between 8 and 12 years old. This is one example of the way that the fundamental rights of children are violated. Many children who engage in child labour do not go to school. Investing in girls' education, however, reduces inequalities and strengthens the economy. Reducing the gender gap is also crucial in the fight against poverty.