The Union of Moroccan Women Judges Conducted a Sextortion Workshop in Tangier as part of our Program to Fight Corruption in Morocco

As part of our joint Program “Addressing Corruption’s Impact on Women in Morocco,” the Union of Moroccan Women Judges (UMWJ) organized a Sextortion Workshop in Tangier on February 2.

The goal of the workshop was to have a discussion with university students and judges on sextortion and how it presents itself in universities, as well as to analyze whether the country’s current law is sufficient to protect victims of this crime.

The workshop had 26 participants and four different discussion sessions:

  1. How does sextortion present itself in universities?
    • Analysis of the Moroccan Code of Ethics for the Public Employee.
  2. Sextortion under the Moroccan law.
    • Analysis of Articles 248 and 503 (1) of the Penal law.
  3. Comparisons between cases of sextortion, bribe, harassment, and other similar crimes.
  4. Discussion of Yassine and Yasmine stories.

During her opening remarks, Hon. Mina Sougrati, President of the UMWJ and IAWJ’s Secretary/Treasurer, highlighted the fact that the absence of a law criminalizing sextortion in Morocco, does not necessarily imply that there is no possibility for accountability. However, Counselor Fatima Okadoum, Vice President of the UMWJ, explained that victims of sextortion not always come forward over fear of social stigmatization, psychological damages, marginalization, etc. Therefore, she highlighted, it is important to apply current laws that can protect against sextortion.

Dr. Anas Saadoun analyzed sextortion cases and explained that, the perpetrator of a sextortion crime is a person of authority that exploits his power by seeking or accepting a sexual activity in exchange for the use of the power entrusted to him.

The participants also discussed universities’ code of ethics regarding its applicability on these types of situations. Judges and students underscored the need to conduct awareness campaigns that explain that sextortion is a crime subject to criminal law. Moreover, they also addressed the need to promote a culture of reporting of gender related crimes.

At the end of the workshop, those present created a list of recommendations. Among the recommendations was the need to support victims and encourage reporting; to promote access to justice for sextortion victims, especially for vulnerable groups; to open investigations into allegations of sexual bribery regardless of the burden of proof; and to create a law to protect victims and witnesses of sextortion in order to encourage them to come forward.