Moroccan sentenced to 20 years in jail over death of child housemaid
RABAT - The employer of a 14-year-old Moroccan housemaid who died after suffering severe burns was jailed for 20 years on Thursday by a court in the southern city of Agadir, an NGO said.
The victim, identified only as Fatima, died last March after suffering third degree burns to her hands and face, with the case causing public outcry over the exploitation of domestic child workers in the North African country.
The employer, a woman, was found guilty of "blows and injuries unintentionally leading to death" and handed the maximum jail term of 20 years, said Omar Saadon, from the NGO Insaf, who was present at Thursday's hearing.
"We were expecting this ruling, because the proof was overwhelming," he said.
"But beyond that, we will continue our campaign until a new law is applied that eradicates this scourge."
Moroccan labour laws prohibit the employment of anyone under the age of 15 and requires authorisation for anyone under 18, although the national planning commission says that, despite improvements, there are still more than 90,000 children under 15 in work.
In its annual report published this week, Human Rights Watch said girls as young as eight continued to work in private homes for up to 12 hours per day, and for as little as $11 (eight euros) per month.
"In some cases, employers beat and verbally abused the girls, denied them an education, and refused them adequate food," the New York-based rights group said.