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Mina Haider Elkarzabi: In Ivory Coast there are no jobs for unqualified migrants

Wednesday, 01 October 2014

 Mina El Elkarzabi, president of the Association of Moroccan Women in Ivory Coast, spoke about the challenges facing Morocco in Africa. She most particularly pinpointed specialized networks in prostitution that recruit young Moroccan women.

In an interview with the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME) at the 20th edition of the international book and edition fair, she said that Ivory Coast  is not only a very welcoming country for Moroccan but it also offers great investment opportunities.

Can you tell us what was the reason behind settling in Ivory Coast?

I left Morocco for Ivory Coast in 1993 after marrying an Ivorian citizen. I had no problem integrating especially that the Ivorian people are very friendly, and Moroccans in particular enjoy a very good reputation in this country. I must admit I had no trouble whatsoever to fit in.

Did you have career plans when you settled in this new country?

At first it was a bit complicated for me to work, despite the fact that I hold approved academic degrees. But soon enough, I was able to work and even do politics.

How did you come up with the idea of ​​creating an association for the defense of Moroccan girls victims of prostitution networks?

At first I must admit that I had a negative opinion of the girls involved in prostitution. However once I've approached them, I realized how much they suffered and in fact they were in a state of distress because I realized that most of them were victims of human trafficking, and prostitution networks. Not only Moroccans but also Lebanese ... these girls work in their majority, in hotels, but we now know that most of these girls are not even qualified for this position in Morocco, because they generally have no diploma. We also know that the families of these young women borrow money to pay for the flight tickets of these future victims of prostitution.

Did your association efforts manage to somehow reduce this phenomenon in Ivory Coast?

 I think there was an important development because we started over a decade ago, to talk about this mix of tourism and prostitution and in this respect; I want to thank the CCME for conveying our message to government officials on Moroccans who hold no degree and fall into the trap of prostitution networks in Ivory Coast. In my case, I met mothers about to send their girls to Ivory Coast believing that they would find a decent job. It is also reassuring that the message was relayed by the media.


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