Prostitution, Marrakech is Moroccan capital of paid sex

At least 50,000 female prostitutes across Morocco

28 May, 10:53

    The movie 'Much loved' tells a story of prostitution in Marrakech The movie 'Much loved' tells a story of prostitution in Marrakech

    (by Olga Piscitelli) (ANSAmed) - RABAT, MAY 28 - Prostitutes in Morocco mostly gather in locations across a city that are a symbol of consumerism: during the day, in fashion stores, fast foods and brasseries; at night in discos and trendy restaurants. You recognize the fact that they are prostitutes by the way they dress and they look at potential clients.

    There are an estimated 50,000 prostitutes in Morocco. A study by the health ministry looked at data from 2011 and 2014, stating that there are as many as 19,000 only between Agadir, Fes, Rabat and Tangiers.

    Marrakesh, however, has the lion's share, followed by Casablanca.

    Just three hours away from the main Italian airports, the city is the capital of tourism: it represents an exotic destination that is close by. 'Much loved', the movie by Nabil Ayouch presented in Cannes and censored, tells the story of four prostitutes in Marrakech, lifting the veil on one of the city's main businesses. There is no intermediary, Moroccan women offer themselves directly. And they fight for their share of the market with competitors who hail from central Africa. They are aged on average between 18 and 20, they cost between 500 to 700 Dirham, or 50 to 70 euros. The most beautiful, often selected by night clubs, can charge up to 300 euros a night, with dinner paid by the client included.

    In the new city, amid what remains of buildings built by the French during the protectorate and new establishments of the movida, the reputation of the girls of Marrakech is reported from tourist to tourist.

    Square 16 November, Avenue Mohammed V, Rue Yugoslavie are among the easiest addresses during the day. At night, the places to go are Gueliz and Hivernage, the districts with the highest number of night clubs.

    The most sought-after clients are those from Saudi Arabia although Europeans are welcome too, provided they have money.

    And in between jobs, they can get their hair done or pick a beautician until 5 am. Those seeking to change life are looking for a passport as well as a lifelong income.

    Desperation instead lies in the medina. In the ancient Jewish district Mellah, women offering sex are older and tariffs go down to 20 Dirham, or 2 euros for sex just two steps from the souk.

    Some say it is a scandal in the land of Islam. And then there are those who, outside the country's borders, organize dedicated tours for the most demanding clients - with specialized websites listing locations and tariffs in the main cities, giving advice on how to approach prostitutes, the best period for a trip and the best discos.

    The survey by the health ministry revealed that out of the 19,000 prostitutes interviewed, most were illiterate, divorced or widows (between 62and 73%), and that they had sex for the first time when they were between 15 and 19 years of age. Most live on their own (between 60 and 70%) but support someone financially (in 50-80% of cases), often children (up to 56%) or their family of origin. The majority (54%) revealed they had not used a condom in the 30 days before they were interviewed for the survey, either because they weren't carrying one or because their client did not want to use it.

    In 98% of cases, prostitutes have sex wherever their client takes them, either in rented apartments or a riad rented exclusively. It is impossible to rent a hotel room as a law in the kingdom says Moroccans can't rent a room with someone who is not their spouse, in order to crack down on prostitution. Those who do not exhibit a marriage certificate are liable of arrest and the hotelier risks having to shut down. (ANSAmed)

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